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·         JBS plant in Greeley working to contain new early-stage COVID-19 outbreak

·         Meat Giant JBS Cuts Health Insurance Costs For Workers’ Covid-19 Treatment



JBS plant in Greeley working to contain new early-stage COVID-19 outbreak

State shows 20 new cases at county’s largest employer that had nearly 300 in previous outbreak and six deaths


By Cuyler Meade, Greeley Tribune (CO)

November 19, 2020


The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, which has been tracking COVID-19 outbreaks and displaying them publicly for several months, has identified a new outbreak at the Greeley JBS beef plant, showing 20 cases at the plant as part of an outbreak that it notes as having begun Tuesday.


JBS was the site of one of the largest single-location outbreaks in the state, totaling more than 290 cases by the time it was considered “resolved” by the CDPHE on Oct. 20 and resulting in six recorded deaths of employees due to the virus.


A spokesperson for the Brazil-based company that is headquartered in Greeley, and which employs about 4,000 people — more than any other entity in Weld County — said that the number of active cases was down to 12 by Thursday afternoon.


The spokesperson, Nikki Richardson, pointed out that 12 was just 0.3% of the plant’s population of roughly 4,000, and that the positivity rate of the plant’s random surveillance testing is 0.5%. She compared that favorably to the positivity rate in Greeley-Evans of 16.69%.


Richardson added the plant has implemented aggressive measures to avoid a second major outbreak like the one it suffered in spring and summer — one for which it fell under scrutiny for too lax a response.


“In response to any positive test, we immediately quarantine the affected team member and initiate our contact tracing process,” Richardson wrote in an email. “Our process includes identifying close contacts and evaluating whether a team member lives or commutes with someone who has tested positive. Anyone identified as a close contact is immediately notified, isolated and referred for free testing. Importantly, we have only identified one close contact that has been COVID-19 positive. This gives us optimism that our interventions are working well and that cases are not being contracted in our facilities or spreading person-to-person among our workforce.”


When the plant was forced by the state health department to close as cases and deaths inside the beef facility mounted in early April, it came after similar statements of aggressive response, which were accompanied by source inside the plant refuting the execution of the stated plan. When questioned early in the outbreak if he thought the plant would close, JBS CEO Andre Nogueira told the Greeley Tribune that he was “100%” certain that would not be necessary.


This time, Richardson is taking a more measured approach.


“The Greeley beef facility is open and operating, but we will not hesitate to close the facility if it is in the best interest of our team members or the surrounding community,” Richardson wrote. “We also maintain ongoing communication with the local and state health departments.”


According to Richardson, the belief in the company, based on internal data, is that the vast majority of cases are coming into the plant population from outside the plant itself and are not being spread inside the plant. This is based on the fact, she said, that almost all cases are identified by outside testing, and that the communication to employees to stay home if sick is being heard.


“One of the current active cases was identified through our surveillance testing program,” she wrote.


JBS has been the subject of numerous complaints from employees and contractors, both on and off the record, that it has been negligent in its response to the virus. A pair of contractors who were hired through a third party to screen employees as they entered the plant this summer alleged that equipment didn’t work and that processes were woefully inadequate to the point of being largely performative. The company virulently denied these claims.


Others among the workforce, a high percentage of which are immigrants, refugees and non-English speakers, have claimed the company did not do its due diligence in being communicative about the early spread of the virus the first time, and still more have said that the company hasn’t made suitable efforts to compensate sick employees for the time they’ve missed due to quarantine and being too sick to work. These claims have also been denied by the company.


Notably, Richardson points out in her email that, along with aggressive random surveillance testing of asymptomatic team members, the company has...





Meat Giant JBS Cuts Health Insurance Costs For Workers’ Covid-19 Treatment


Chloe Sorvino, Forbes

Nov 20, 2020


The American division of the world’s largest meatpacker is eliminating the amount its workers have to pay out-of-pocket for care if they’ve contracted Covid-19.


There are 90,000 workers and dependents enrolled in JBS’s health care plan, covering 80% of U.S. workers. If they contract the coronavirus, they will now not have to pay any deductible or co-insurance, and health reimbursement account funds will not have to be used to cover any of the costs. Previously, workers had to meet deductibles before the health plan paid 80% of the costs, and, after reaching the out-of-pocket maximum, costs were paid at 100%. JBS said it was still determining the number of employees who would need reimbursements.


“It’s moments of uncertainty for all of us,” says JBS USA CEO Andre Nogueira. “We want to reduce a little bit more. ”


The decision comes as an outbreak of at least 20 workers has flared up at its beef plant in Greeley, Colorado, per government data released this week. The ranchland heavy state’s positivity rate has been inching up to 11% amid the nation’s most recent coronavirus surge. It’s the same plant where more than 300 workers got sick and six died this past spring.


Food workers have been on the frontlines of the pandemic. As slaughterhouses around the country have faced dozens of outbreaks this year, at least 49,000 meatpacking workers have been exposed to Covid-19, and 245 have died, according to the Food and Environmental Reporting Network.


JBS workers who were promised bonuses of $1,500 in May, based on attendance, still haven’t seen most of that payment...


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JBS bounces back after COVID with strong third quarter financials


Jon Condon, BEEF Central (Australia)

November 20, 2020


SLAUGHTER cattle supply out of Australia is not likely to recover significantly until at least 2022, investors were told during a JBS briefing following the tabling of the company’s third quarter financials earlier this week.


Global beef processor JBS has bounced back from the impacts of COVID earlier in the year, reporting net revenues of R$70 billion for the quarter ended September, up 34pc on the same period last year and a new record for the company.


Despite a challenging scenario due to impacts from the global pandemic, JBS global delivered pre-tax earnings (EBITDA) of R$8 billion (up 35pc year on year) and net income of R$3.1 billion.


“We may face occasional short-term imbalances in supply and demand in any given region in which we operate, but this does not alter the overall positive trends. In this sense, our geographical diversification, coupled with our diverse product portfolio across multiple proteins, will help reduce short-term volatility and provide more consistent results over the long-term,” JBS global CEO Gilberto Tomazoni said.


Reported in US$, the JBS US beef division (including operations in Australia and Canada) reported net revenue of US$5.3 billion in the quarter, a 5pc reduction compared to the same quarter last year, due to an 8pc decrease in volume sold, partially offset by a 2.6pc increase in the average selling price. EBITDA was US$503m.


In beef operations in the US and in Canada, production increased on the previous quarter, and volumes returned to pre-COVID levels.


The continuity of favourable demand contributed to an increase in beef prices over the same period last year, shareholders were told. US cattle supply remained ample, however, an increase in the number of animals processed drove finished cattle prices to a higher level when compared to same period of last year.


Additionally, North American beef exports grew over the previous quarter, not only in volume, but also in quality and product diversity, increasing their contribution to this business’ results.


In Australia, the lack of cattle availability continued to impact beef production, Mr Tomazoni said, with 2019 and 2020 producing the lowest cattle herd in the country in the last 20 years.


“The lack of finished cattle in the main beef producing regions in Australia caused a temporary halt and reduction of shifts in processing facilities during the quarter, affecting the business unit performance,” he said.


Questions on supply ...


Victorian challenges ...


Public float prospects ...