No workers' comp paid so far at Minnesota meatpacking plants
By Joe Carlson, Star Tribune (MN)
February 21, 2021
About 18,000 people have filed workers' compensation claims, saying they contracted COVID-19 while working in Minnesota.
Half of the claims have been paid so far. But state data show none of those paid are from the state's largest meat-processing plants, where some of the state's biggest workplace outbreaks occurred.
The meat processing plants have had 935 claims filed for COVID.
"I've never seen numbers that dramatic," said John Malone, a workers' compensation attorney with Malone & Atchison in St. Cloud and Edina. "There are certainly claims that are disfavored and routinely litigated. But to accept zero out of 935 is shocking to me."
Malone said the pattern suggests that meat plant managers were applying a blanket policy, rather than individually judging each case.
Officials at Brazil-based meatpacking firm JBS, which runs a large pork plant in Worthington and also owns the Pilgrim's Pride chicken plant in Cold Spring, denied Malone's assertion.
"We are following all legal requirements with respect to workers' compensation claims during the pandemic," JBS USA said...
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