Workers from some of the country’s largest meat plants said they were ordered to work in crowded conditions even while sick and not provided appropriate protective gear, leading the facilities to become hotspots for coronavirus, according to a new report.
The outbreaks have caused three major meat producers — Tyson Foods, JBS USA and Smithfield Foods — to shutter at least 15 plants across the nation, further disrupt the country’s meat supply during the pandemic, the Washington Post reported.
The report found that more than 30 plants have been hit with the virus, which has sickened at least 3,300 workers and killed 17.
Employees from facilities across the country blamed the spread of the virus in the workplace on the companies’ policies.
Workers at JBS beef processing plant in Colorado claimed managers encouraged them to work for shifts even when they appeared sick, according to the outlet.
Meanwhile, three workers at a Smithfield distribution center in Indiana said they were told that the virus couldn’t spread in the facilities’ frigid temperatures despite there being no scientific evidence to back up this claim, the report said.
And some workers at a Tyson pork plant in Iowa used bandanas and sleep eyewear as facial coverings, while others wore no protection at all, the report said.