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?span style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> BREAKING: Olymel temporarily closing Red Deer pork plant due to COVID-19 outbreak
?span style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> CBC News: Alberta slaughterhouse to close temporarily amid growing COVID-19 outbreak that has claimed one life
?span style='font:7.0pt "Times New Roman"'> Union: Olymel to close temporarily
BREAKING: Olymel temporarily closing Red Deer pork plant due to COVID-19 outbreak
Case numbers continue to climb
by Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW (AB, Canada)
Feb 15, 2021
Olymel is temporarily shutting down its Red Deer pork processing plant due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
揇espite the testing protocols and sanitary measures already in place, as well as the close collaboration of Alberta Health Services to deal with a resurgence of positive cases of COVID-19 among plant employees, Olymel management believes that the conditions are no longer assembled to continue normal operations in a safe and efficient manner,?the company says in a statement issued Monday.
Olymel says it has notified the union representing workers at the Red Deer plant (UFCW Local 401) and that it will be shut down for an indefinite period of time.
揙ver the next few days, plant management will mobilize the staff necessary to cease operations and complete the facility closure as soon as possible,?the company says. 揟he sanitary measures will continue to be in effect at the plant during the shutdown and Olymel management will be in contact with officials at Alberta Health Services to continue working closely with this organization.?/p>
Alberta Health confirms that as of Monday there are 192 active cases linked to the outbreak, which was first declared in November. Total confirmed cases stemming from the outbreak sit at 326. There has been one death as a result of the outbreak?/p>
?Olymel management has also informed all hog suppliers of the Red Deer plant of the situation and has suspended all pending deliveries until further notice?/p>
Alberta slaughterhouse to close temporarily amid growing COVID-19 outbreak that has claimed one life
After death of their colleague, workers shared fears of unsafe environment at Olymel plant in Red Deer, Alta.
Joel Dryden, Sarah Rieger ?CBC News (Canada)
Feb 15, 2021
Darwin Doloque's friends describe him as an eternal optimist, one who couldn't say no to anyone who needed help.
On Jan. 28, the 35-year-old permanent resident who immigrated to Canada from the Philippines was found dead at his home in Red Deer, Alta. The cause of death was attributed to a case of COVID-19 linked to his work at the city's Olymel meat-processing plant.
Late Monday ?nearly three weeks after Doloque's death and in an abrupt change of position hours after telling CBC News it planned to remain open ?Olymel said it would temporarily shut down the plant, due to the rapidly growing COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.牋
As of Monday, 326 employees at the plant had tested positive for COVID-19, nearly double the count of 168 on Feb. 6. Of those, 192 remain active.牋
CBC News spoke to six employees of Olymel for this story and agreed to withhold their names because they fear they could lose their jobs if they are identified.
During the interviews, workers said they were afraid to go to the plant, fearing for their own health and the health of their families. Several described negative effects on their mental wellbeing, as the outbreak continued to spread.
Operations to cease over next few days ...
Struggling to breathe ...
Concerns over swab testing ...
'We feel unsafe' ...
Company was compliant with public health orders: AHS ...
Other meat plants battle outbreaks ...
Plant had been ramping up production ...
Olymel to close temporarily
Source: UFCW Local 401
Feb 15, 2021
After relentless pressure from UFCW Local 401 calling on Olymel to temporarily close its Red Deer Plant so that experts could assess what additional protocols were necessary to contain the COVID outbreak currently engulfing the Plant, the CBC has reported that the Company intends to heed the union抯 calls.
The CBC抯 report has been confirmed via communications from the Company.
This is a major victory for Olymel workers who have consistently expressed fear for their safety and a desire to see the Plant close on a temporary basis.
On Saturday, UFCW 401 President Thomas Hesse wrote to Olymel Plant Manager, Rob Ackerblade, presenting a personal plea for the Plant to close, accompanied by several compelling arguments.
Hesse also spent much of the day on the phone with government officials making the case for a temporary closure.
揑 told anyone who would listen that it was impossible to look at what was happening at Olymel and conclude that this outbreak was under control and that the Plant was a safe workplace,?said Hesse. 揥e were no longer faced with a choice. The Plant had to close. Period.?/p>
An abrupt change ...
What now? ...