In this file:

 

·         Workers cheered as they enter South Dakota pork plant

Employees at a Smithfield pork processing plant in South Dakota where a coronavirus outbreak infected over 800 people saw something new as they showed up to work

 

·         Smithfield workers agree with plant protocols

Smithfield Foods in Crete has had to make changes to day-to-day operations after an outbreak of COVID-19.

 

 

Workers cheered as they enter South Dakota pork plant

Employees at a Smithfield pork processing plant in South Dakota where a coronavirus outbreak infected over 800 people saw something new as they showed up to work

 

The Associated Press

via ABC News - May 20, 2020

 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Employees at a Smithfield pork processing plant in South Dakota where a coronavirus outbreak infected over 800 people were greeted at work Wednesday with thank you signs, cheers and waves from about a dozen area residents.

 

“They're putting their health at risk just like the hospital workers are to continue on with this work, so I hope they feel appreciated,” said Becky Olson, a Sioux Falls resident who held a sign outside Smithfield's entrance.

 

The plant has instructed many workers to return to work this week as it looks to scale up operations by the end of the month. Masked employees streamed into the factory entrance as trucks carrying pigs rumbled past.

 

The Smithfield plant, which produces roughly 5% of the nation's pork supply, gave an early warning of how quickly the virus can spread in meatpacking plants that are key to the nation's food supply. Two employees at the plant have died from COVID-19, along with more than 20 meat and poultry workers nationwide.

 

Dave Tesphay, an employee who was reporting to work on Wednesday, said that with the pandemic "it was really scary at first.”

 

Smithfield shut the plant down for three weeks and has installed plexiglass barriers between work stations to prevent infections from spreading. The company is also spreading employees at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart when possible.

 

Tesphay said the plant's closure and safety measures gave him confidence to return. The people who showed up to cheer him on made him feel the community cared, he said.

 

The event...

 

more

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/workers-cheered-enter-south-dakota-pork-plant-70790612

 

 

Smithfield workers agree with plant protocols

 

by Caitlyn Nelson, The Crete News

via Seward Independent (NE) - May 20, 2020

 

Smithfield Foods in Crete has had to make changes to day-to-day operations after an outbreak of COVID-19.

 

Upon entering work, a camera scans the employees' temperatures, and employees are given a mask. Face shields and gloves are also provided.

 

Tents are set up outside for workers to have more space to eat during breaks.

 

Sneeze guards, hand sanitizers and foot pedal door openers have been installed plant-wide to limit the risk of the virus spreading, Jacob McCanliss, an employee of Smithfield, said.

 

“There are hundreds if not thousands of sanitizing stations,” McCanliss said. “These were put in probably in record time.”

 

Employees age 60 and older have been given paid time off to protect them from the potential spread of the virus. Those who are getting tested for COVID-19 also get paid time off until results come back.

 

“At first I did not think Smithfield was doing enough,” McCanliss said. “But I honestly think they are doing everything they can. We work with thousands of people, so it’s not easy to control something that spreads so easily, but I think they are taking the measures they need to.”

 

Perry Odvody, an employee who has been at Smithfield for 21 years, spoke to KLKNTV and agrees that Smithfield is doing everything it can.

 

“So far, I’ve heard that Smithfield ain’t doing nothing, and that’s 100%, it’s opposite, they’re doing everything within their powers,” Odvody said to KLKNTV.

 

Protestors at Smithfield gathered on May 2 to protest working conditions at the plant.

 

On May 4, health officials announced that 130 cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska are connected with food processing plants.

 

Of these cases, 123 were tied to the Smithfield Foods plant.

 

Both McCanliss and Odvody said that Smithfield has been doing everything it can to stay open following an executive order from President Donald Trump at the end of April to keep meat processing plants open...

 

more

https://www.sewardindependent.com/crete/smithfield-workers-agree-with-plant-protocols/article_21998108-9ad5-11ea-a6dd-ab20e0fcfcb2.html