Workers at the JBS USA beef facility in Greeley, the site of an earlier COVID-19 outbreak, will receive a pay increase of $1.85 per hour.
“The pressure from UFCW Local 7 and our members secured the wage increase at the Greeley JBS plant,” said Kim Cordova, the president of the local, which represents approximately 3,000 workers in Colorado. “With over 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19, JBS’ negligence for workplace safety converted the plant into a COVID-19 hotspot in Colorado, for which ultimately six of our members paid the ultimate price: death.”
The company issued the increase on its own, without a vote on a proposed contract. JBS confirmed the move in a statement, as reported in The Denver Post.
“Given the failure of local union leadership to act in the best interests of our team members, JBS USA has made the decision to independently provide the increased wages denied to our team members,” said a spokesperson.
The union had other compensation-related concerns with the proposal.
Wages will now range between $18 and $24.60 per hour. The Post noted that 300 infections have occurred at the Greeley facility.
“An increase of $1.85 an hour is not enough to make up for the lives lost and the dangers they face every day,” Cordova said in a statement. “As we move forward, the Union continues to demand that JBS improves plant safety measures, provides high-quality PPE, removes policies that promote its current ‘Work While Sick Culture,’ offers paid sick leave immediately, and institutes hourly hazard pay.”