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meat processing

North Platte Telegraph

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is ramping up his crusade for the meat industry by endorsing a new “beef passport” program to promote meat eating, a few weeks after he blasted Colorado’s governor for a resolution encouraging its residents to eat less. Ricketts, a Republican, cast meat as essential to his state’s economy and the nation’s food security. He criticized “radical environmentalists” and Bill Gates for promoting alternatives, such as synthetic, lab-grown meat, and for arguing that the global meat production system isn’t sustainable.

KKTV

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is railing against a proclamation by the governor of Colorado that encourages people to avoid meat for one day a week, calling it a “direct attack on our way of life” and signing a pro-meat declaration of his own. Ricketts surrounded himself with top officials from Nebraska’s meat, agricultural and restaurant industries on Monday as he declared Saturday “Meat on the Menu Day” in Nebraska. The day was chosen to coincide with Colorado’s “MeatOut Day,” a nonbinding proclamation signed by Gov. Jared Polis late last month and backed by an animal rights group.

KWCH

Meatpacking companies and public health officials are trying to overcome any reluctance workers may have about coronavirus vaccines before they become eligible to get them. Major companies such as Tyson Foods and JBS are encouraging workers to get the vaccine with campaigns to educate them about the benefits and safety of the shots. Also, JBS and Pilgrim’s Corp. are offering $100 bonuses to workers who get the vaccine.

No Vaccine For Undocumented Meat Packers, Says Ricketts

Jan 6, 2021
WOWT

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is saying only documented workers in meatpacking plants will get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Ricketts says people who work in the plants are supposed to be in the U.S. legally, and there will be no conflict since people need to be in the country legally to work in the food-processing program.  UFCW Local 293 officials tell WOWT that there are plenty of undocumented workers employed in the state's meatpacking plants, and that the best way to keep the plants running is to vaccinate everyone. 

Nebraska’s meatpacking plants won’t have to worry about any new state-mandated safety restrictions this year, despite outbreaks of the coronavirus among their workers. A Nebraska lawmaker who wanted to add more protections on Wednesday failed to secure sufficient support for the idea. Sen. Tony Vargas, of Omaha, fell two votes short of the 30 he needed to introduce a bill this session. Bills can only be introduced during the first 10 days of each session, unless a super-majority of lawmakers agrees to suspend the rule.

Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska residents are showing their support for people who work in the meatpacking industry.  Union members, community advocates and church groups were among those who rallied outside the state Capitol yesterday. Demonstrators called on state lawmakers to take steps to protect meatpacking workers from the COVID-19 pandemic by requiring companies to provide protective gear, ensure social distancing and other measures.  

There are now more than nine-thousand COVID-19 cases in Nebraska.  As of yesterday, there were nine-thousand-75 cases and 107 deaths reported across the state during the pandemic.  Douglas County has seen 17-hundred-79 cases, while Hall and Dakota counties have each reported nearly 14-hundred coronavirus cases. Nebraska is working to distribute a drug approved to treat the coronavirus.  Governor Pete Ricketts says the state has been provided with 400 vials of Remdesivir.  The state's chief medical officer will determine how the drug will be distributed.

State health officials announced five additional deaths related to COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 90 total deaths from the virus in the state, and seven-thousand-190 total cases. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services says 47-percent of hospital beds and 75-percent of ventilators are still available. Governor Pete Ricketts says nearly one of every six cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska are meatpacking workers. The governor says more than one-thousand coronavirus patients are employees at food processing plants, but declined to say where the cases were found.

The attorneys general for 11 Midwestern states have urged the Justice Department to investigate market concentration and potential price fixing by meatpackers in the cattle industry during the coronavirus pandemic. The state attorneys general wrote in a letter dated Tuesday to U.S. Attorney General William Barr that the concentrated market structure of the beef industry makes it particularly susceptible to market manipulation, particularly during times of food insecurity, such as the current COVID-19 crisis.

Grand Island Independent

The coronavirus is devastating the nation’s meatpacking communities — places like Waterloo and Sioux City in Iowa, Grand Island, Nebraska, and Worthington, Minnesota. Within weeks, the outbreaks around slaughterhouses have turned into full-scale disasters. The virus is killing, sickening and frightening workers and devastating their extended families. In Grand Island, an outbreak linked to a JBS beef plant that is the city’s largest employer spread rapidly across the rural central Nebraska region. It killed more than three dozen people.

There are now more than six-thousand COVID-19 cases in Nebraska.  As of yesterday, six-thousand-83 cases and 78 deaths had been reported in the state.  Hall County continues to lead the state with 12-hundred-81 COVID-19 cases, while Douglas County has reported 944 cases and Dakota County has confirmed 938 cases.