Members of the union representing Olymel employees gathered on the firm’s pork plant in Pink Deer on Wednesday to indicate help for these impacted by the outbreak on the facility and its subsequent closure.
There are at present 343 COVID-19 circumstances linked to the Olymel outbreak. Of those, 200 are lively, 142 recovered. One employee has died.
Olymel mentioned late Monday it was shutting down the hog slaughtering, slicing and deboning plant indefinitely as a result of it believed it may now not be operated safely and effectively.
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At Wednesday’s gathering, United Meals and Industrial Staff Native 401 president Thomas Hesse mentioned over 80 per cent of employees have informed the union in latest weeks that they’re scared to come back to work.
“They’re terrified,” Hesse mentioned. “Over 90 per cent of them have requested for a closure.”
“Unsafe workplaces shouldn’t be allowed to function. So we’re right here to remind Olymel that they should full the method of closure.
“We have to discuss to the federal government, we have to discuss to the specialists and this could’t occur once more. That is actually turning into the disgrace of Alberta’s agriculture trade.”
Pink Deer pork plant shuts down following COVID-19 outbreak
Hesse mentioned one of many main areas of concern is the proximity of the employees.
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“There are virtually 2,000 employees right here. If we noticed 2,000 people at a marriage on the six o’clock information, we’d freak out.”
He mentioned the union is asking public well being officers to interview employees on the plant.
“We wish to meet with public well being officers and the employer and have them hear a employee’s perspective.”
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Olymel has beforehand mentioned the outbreak on the facility started in November, however it wasn’t till Jan. 20 that there was a big rise in infections and one particular person later died.
On Tuesday, chief medical officer of well being Dr. Deena Hinshaw mentioned that the plant had “sporadic circumstances” — one or two at a time — for a number of months, and that the processes which were put in place on the plant website had been profitable in stopping unfold.
“In truth, there had been no circumstances for a while and there was consideration on closing down that outbreak,” Hinshaw added.
Hinshaw mentioned it appears the newer spike in circumstances was the results of a “confluence of occasions” outdoors the plant.
Hinshaw particulars efforts to curb COVID-19 outbreak at Olymel Pink Deer pork plant
“Olymel sincerely hopes that every one workers on the Pink Deer plant who’ve examined constructive for COVID-19 quickly regain their well being. The corporate will comply with up with all workers to make sure their quarantine interval is being revered and can strongly encourage all workers to get examined earlier than returning to work,” a press release on Monday mentioned.
“Olymel may also proceed ongoing investigations to find out what could have brought about such a big outbreak of COVID-19 circumstances since January 20.”
— with information from World Information’ Sarah Offin and The Canadian Press
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