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#1 Benjamin Bunting

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 02:29 PM

As a QA in the poultry industry, I have struggled with the COVID-19 fears and production trials as have most all of us. Now here in the US the president has issued an order to keep all meat processing plants open and reopen the closed plants. I would like to hear your thoughts on this subject. How is it going trying to implement the changes, are they working? How are the employees feeling about their situation? 

We have not had any of our plants close in our company though I have been waiting as cases climb. 

We have had a few cases in each of the plants and I know that we are trying to follow all the safety guidelines. I have one coworker that has ended up in the hospital and I have concerns for the health of everyone in the food industry, but know the vital role we play.

Have a great day and stay well! 



#2 MsMars

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 03:57 PM

I am not currently in meat processing, but my initial thoughts were: If the president says that he cannot order a sweeping stay-at-home order for all of the United States, then what makes him think that he can order all of our country's meat processing plants to stay open? I don't want to get too political, but I don't think this is a one-size-fits-all situation.  Yes, we need to keep the food supply chain going, but we also need to keep people alive and healthy.  There is not a simple answer, and lives/livelihoods are all at stake. 


Edited by MsMars, 30 April 2020 - 03:57 PM.


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#3 Ryan M.

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 07:13 PM

I am not currently in meat processing, but my initial thoughts were: If the president says that he cannot order a sweeping stay-at-home order for all of the United States, then what makes him think that he can order all of our country's meat processing plants to stay open? I don't want to get too political, but I don't think this is a one-size-fits-all situation.  Yes, we need to keep the food supply chain going, but we also need to keep people alive and healthy.  There is not a simple answer, and lives/livelihoods are all at stake. 

 

Politics can be complicated.  He can order the meat plants to stay open and did so under the Defense Production Act.  This was created during the Korean War and is an act that can be used quite broadly.

 

The sweeping stay at home order is an entirely different issue, politically, and legally.  This is more of a legal issue between federal and state.  Potentially, he could issue a stay at home order, or quarantine order, under the Commerce Clause of the constitution or interstate travel under the Pulblic Health Service act.  But doing so, in either case would open a can of worms with the states' legislators and congress which would likely make it a state to state order or authority, and not a national one.



#4 Ryan M.

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 07:16 PM

I think the biggest challenge you have in meat / poultry is assuring the workers are safe and you are taking all possible measures you can to ensure their safety.  If workers become uneasy or agitated then they are less likely to come to work.  You have to keep up with the pulse of the employees and the rumor mill; quash any false rumors that come out and address the real / valid rumors.  Listen to your employees, understand them, and hear them.  Do what you can to ease their frustrations or apprehensions.

 

It's a tough time right now, but it has to be done to keep things moving forward.

 

 

As a QA in the poultry industry, I have struggled with the COVID-19 fears and production trials as have most all of us. Now here in the US the president has issued an order to keep all meat processing plants open and reopen the closed plants. I would like to hear your thoughts on this subject. How is it going trying to implement the changes, are they working? How are the employees feeling about their situation? 

We have not had any of our plants close in our company though I have been waiting as cases climb. 

We have had a few cases in each of the plants and I know that we are trying to follow all the safety guidelines. I have one coworker that has ended up in the hospital and I have concerns for the health of everyone in the food industry, but know the vital role we play.

Have a great day and stay well! 



#5 kfromNE

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 12:29 PM

The order basically means the state and local government can't shut down plants only the federal government can (South Dakota shut down the Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls, SD - not allowed anymore). As a business, you still have the right to close down for a period of time.

 

I am also in a plant that is now deemed critical. We are doing everything we can to keep employees safe. It's a balance. As the coordinator of the COVID-19 response in my facility, I've gone around and talked to supervisors, staff, etc on what they think we should do more. Employees need to know their place of business/management cares about them. Now you may not able to solve all of their fears however asking goes along way.

 

I believe one positive thing to come out of this - employees at meat plants will be able to get tested easier.

 

Good luck -we're in this all together.



#6 Benjamin Bunting

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 03:12 PM

Great responses! I agree it has been challenging. Communication is Key in all of this. The more employees hear from upper management the better. The problem is most upper management doesn't talk with people on the floor as much as they should. I have built some of the best relationships between production and QA just by walking the floor and talking to people. It will come down to, Do the employees trust that the most is being done on their behalf. I have spoken to my manager several times about communication in the plants and that if we don't direct and communicate then the employees will take things in their own hands and the plant loses its ability to maintain control of a situation. The one thing the government can't help or control is people showing up for work and if they are sick or scared there will be no one to man the lines. We must help keep them well and unafraid. Our employees make us or break us, and we do the same for them it is a symbiotic relationship that must be respected.   

It truly is a strange time and those of us that make it through will have many lessons to teach a new generation in our field. I greatly enjoy learning from others in the Food World and Thank you for your comments.






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