Employees stage work interruption Friday at JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley
A coordinated work interruption by employees at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley on Friday led the company to confiscate hundreds of workers’ badges and send employees, even nonparticipants, home, according to a union statement.
The work interruption was over wages, and the union representing workers, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, was not involved in the stoppage, according to a news release.
“As JBS confirmed, there was a brief work interruption at the Greeley plant. Local 7 was not involved and continues to gather the facts as to what occurred,” said Kim Cordova, president of the local chapter, in a news release.
“This action appears to be an attempt by JBS to strong-arm its employees into accepting a less competitive wage increase that would lock them into a five-year agreement, with little to no chance for any further wage increases,” the union release said.
Local 7, in a written statement, said JBS needs to remain vigilant about protecting workers’ health during the coronavirus pandemic.
“More workers have died at the JBS Greeley plant than any other meatpacking plant in the U.S.,” the release said. “And, just this week, it was reported a new outbreak occurred among five JBS interns at the same plant.”
As of mid-May, eight JBS Greeley workers had died amid a coronavirus outbreak at the facility. This week five interns at the plant came down with COVID-19.
The union on Friday said JBS “refuses to discuss necessary safety improvements nor engage in any discussions concerning rising health care costs in these negotiations.”
Local 7, in the release, calls on JBS to go to the bargaining table. The company could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.