Brazilian billionaire brothers are forced to close two of their US meat packing plants after ‘encouraging work while sick culture’ that saw four employees die of COVID-19 and more than 100 test positive

Sunday, April 19, 2020
By Paul Martin

BS, the world’s largest mest-processing company, was forced to shutter its plant in Greeley, Colorado, and in Souderton, Pennsylvania
Four employees died of coronavirus and more than 100 have tested postive
The Brazilian billionaire owners of JBS, brothers Wesley and Joesley Batista, have also now been linked to a high-level government corruption scheme in Brazil
JBS – which slaughters over 13 million animals a day and made profits of $51 billion last year – is also being investigated in the US for claims of bribery
Their successive woes have led to calls for New York General Attorney General Letitia James to investigate their company as an ‘imminent threat’
Last week, JBS announced plans to close a plant in Greeley, Colorado, after four of its workers died of coronavirus

By LUKE KENTON
DAILYMAIL.COM
19 April 2020

One of the world’s largest meat-processing companies was forced to shutter two of its US plants this week after four of its workers died from coronavirus and more than 100 tested positive – but the pandemic isn’t the only entanglement the company’s facing.

Last week, JBS – owned by Brazilian billionaire brothers Wesley and Joesley Batista – announced plans to close a plant in Greeley, Colorado, after four of its workers died of coronavirus, including long-term employee, 78-year-old Saul Sanchez.

A subsequent investigation carried out by the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment attributed the company’s ‘work while sick culture’ as the catalyst behind the meat-packing plant becoming a COVID-19 hotspot.

County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wallace wrote to the plant on April 2 – five days before the first reported death among its employees – warning that some of the plant’s laborers felt forced to keep up attendance even when they felt ill.

‘These concerns expressed to clinicians included a perception by employees of a ‘work while sick’ culture that included managers and supervisors coming to work while sick,’ Wallace wrote in the letter, as first reported by KDVR.

In his April 2 letter, Wallace ordered the company to take employee’s temperatures as they arrived on site, implement social distancing protocols, and direct anyone exhibiting symptoms to self-isolate at home.

‘If I find evidence of continued violations,’ Wallace wrote. ‘I will seek assistance from the District Attorney to consider criminal actions against you and your staff and/or the Weld County attorney to seek injunctive relief against your company.’

JBS eventually idled operations at the beef processing plant on April 15, but not before dozens more of its 4,500 workers became infected with the virus and at least four died.

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