Authored by: Ollie Lammers
According to Reuters, meat packing factories like Smithfield Foods have backed off the COVID-19 safety protocols they previously enforced. The company confirmed their dedicated team of employees enforcing social distancing and sanitizing surfaces that the role no longer exists.
The company said they shifted the duties of the employees who were sanitizing and enforcing social distancing because it became “second nature” and vaccines were accessible.
Smithfield claims they have not rolled back any of their COVID-19 protocols. The company requires workers to wear masks. The company also provides barriers between workstations and social distancing “when feasible.”
A California meatpacking worker said they stopped social distancing around September 2021, and he would like to see social distancing return.
The Smithfield California meatpacking worker said, "It's pretty much do whatever you want as far as the social distancing,” in the factories.
Meatpacking plants reported some of the country’s most significant COVID outbreaks in 2020.
Public Justice brought a case against Smithfield’s Sioux Falls, Dakota, a meatpacking plant about workers’ rights to a safe work environment at the start of the COVID pandemic. The case pushed Smithfield and their factories to enforce COVID-19 safety protocols quickly.
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To learn more about the case against Smithfield, click here to listen to The How David Beats Goliath Podcast®, Episode 16: Cases That Made a Difference™ The Importance of Worker’s Rights in the Meat Packing Industry with Public Justice.
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