JBS USA has announced that its facility in Greeley, Colo., has closed for a deep cleaning, and all of its workers will be tested before they can return for their jobs, reports KTLA News. The company’s beef facility has experienced increased absenteeism as the Coronavirus has spread in the local community, JBS said in a statement.
“While the measures we have taken within our facility to improve safety have made a positive impact, COVID-19 remains a threat across the United States and in Weld County, which is why we are investing more than $1 million in COVID-19 testing kits for our team members” said Andre Nogueira, JBS USA CEO. “Greeley is our home and more than 6,000 JBS team members and their families live in Weld County. We currently have 36 JBS employees who have tested positive in Weld County and we are offering support to our team members and their families. No matter what measures we take in our facilities, we must all work together to prevent the continued spread of coronavirus in our communities.”
Last week, the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 7, the union that represents the Greeley plant, asked Colorado Governor Jared Polis to close the facility following the death of a second plant employee. Saul Sanchez, 78, and Conchas de la Cruz, 60, had died of COVID-19, reported the Denver Post.
“One death is a tragedy — two deaths at the same plant is simply beyond human understanding,” wrote Kim Cordova, the Local 7 president, in a letter to Polis and Weld County health officials. “With regret, we have no option but to conclude that the time for collaborative efforts has ceased. JBS has left us with no alternative.”
JBS had announced that the facility would be closed for the three-day weekend for deep cleaning efforts at the plant and to coordinate employee testing.
Governor Polis told CNN that the state government is working with federal and local officials to open this week.
“It will close long enough to test every worker and clear workers to return to work,” the governor told CNN last week. “Those that are cleared are going to return after a short closure, hopefully, next Wednesday, or Tuesday or Thursday,” he added.
Source: JBS USA, KTLA News