38 COVID-19 Cases at Cargill Meat Solutions Plant

April 14, 2020

4 Min Read
38 COVID-19 Cases at Cargill Meat Solutions Plant

American agribusiness Cargill is making some operational changes at its Cargill Meat Solutions plant in High River, AB after a union representing employees at the facility announced that 38 workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the site, several local news organizations reported. 

The labor union representing workers at the High River facility, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401, recently asked Cargill to shutter the facility for two weeks to assess safety hazards, guarantee full salaries for workers during the temporary pause in operations, and meet with union representatives, officials, and experts to determine appropriate health and safety rules. 

“We have at least 38 confirmed cases at a single food processing plant in Alberta. Only days ago there were five. Enough is enough!” UFCW Local 401 said Monday in a post to its Facebook page. “Pay your workers and fix the problem now!”

In response to the union’s request, Cargill said it plans to temporarily cut the number of shifts at the facility from two to one to keep workers safe, along with putting several safety-related processes into place at the plant. 

“We’ve taken extra steps to focus on safety and remain operational – including temporary wage increases, bonuses, and waiving co-pays for COVID-19 testing,” John Nash, Cargill Protein – North America Lead, said in a statement to HighRiverOnline.com. “We also implemented additional safety measures like temperature testing, enhanced cleaning and sanitizing, prohibiting visitors, adopting social distancing practices where possible and offering staggered breaks and shift flexibility.”

The company official said the High River site will resume operations “as soon as it is safe to do so.”

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