Perdue Farms Chicken Plant Workers Walk Out over Coronavirus Fears

Workers at the Perdue Farms Inc. processing plant prepare cleaned and gutted chickens for packaging at the plant in Accomac, Va. Tuesday Sept. 30, 1997. At a time when the recent recall of 25 million pounds of possibly contaminated ground beef has renewed concern about food safety, the meat and …
AP File Photo/J.Scott Applewhite

About 50 employees at a Georgia chicken plant walked out on Monday expressing concerns that the facility is not being sanitized and employees exposed to Coronavirus remain on the line.

“All we’re asking now is just to sanitize the building. Sanitize the building,” Perdue Farms employee Kendaliyn Granville told a reporter from 13WMAZ. Everybody that’s been exposed to it, they need to go home. These folks are still on the floor.”

On Monday, about 50 employees of a Perdue plant in Kathleen, Georgia, walked off the job and staged a protest, the local CBS affiliate reported. Local sheriff’s deputies eventually broke up the assembly.

Granville told the reporter there are people who say they have been exposed to the Coronavirus who continue to work. She said the company claims they are sanitizing the building every night, but she says there is food on the floor from the night before when she comes in for the morning shift.

“We’re up here risking our life for chicken,” Granville said. “We’re not getting nothing — no type of compensation, no nothing, not even no cleanliness, no extra pay — no nothing.”

Purdue officials responded to the workers’ concerns in a written statement sent to WMAZ.

“We know that many are feeling anxious during these uncertain times, and we’re doing everything we can to take good care of our Associates while continuing to produce safe and reliable food. Last week, the federal government deemed food industry workers as mission-critical personnel,” Purdue officials stated. “This is a huge responsibility, and we are committed to fulfilling it while keeping our Associates safe.”

The statement continues:

We’ve stepped up a number of our protocols to help ensure the health and wellness of our Associates, such as:

  • We’ve increased cleaning protocols in all of our offices and facilities, not only for sanitation but also in common areas, cafeterias, and locker rooms.
  • All of our associates have up to four weeks of paid time off, and we encourage them to stay home if they feel ill or may have been exposed to the virus. Importantly, we are also working to make our paid leave policies even more flexible during this time to be responsive and provide added relief to Associates.
  • We’ve encouraged any Associate feeling ill to call his or her local healthcare provider, or make use of the onsite Wellness Centers at our facilities, which are available to all Associates and their families free of charge. The staff at our Wellness Centers are trained on how to protect our Associates from, and identify and respond to, symptoms of COVID-19. These professionals follow standard operating procedures as defined by the CDC for infectious diseases. We have extended the hours of many of our onsite Wellness Centers for the foreseeable future.

Knowing that the COVID-19 situation is very fluid, we are assessing our policies as needed and are making sure we take thoughtful care of our Associates as it continues to evolve.

Thanks in large part to our dedicated Associates, Perdue, together with other food companies, will play a meaningful part in helping to keep people fed as the world grapples with and recovers from this significant challenge.

Granville responded, “You want us to go back on the floor to work? No, first sanitize the line, something, because this is not a playing matter. This is not a game.”

Breitbart News reached out to Perdue Farms officials for additional information regarding the impact of worker concerns on production. An immediate response was not available. Phone inquiries went to an “after-hours” answering system.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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