GREELEY, COLO. – As part of its ongoing efforts to protect its front-line workers from the threat posed by COVID-19, JBS USA and Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. officials are offering workers a $100 bonus as an incentive to employees receiving the vaccine as President Joseph Biden begins to execute an accelerated pandemic response.
In November, the company said it would cover 100% of employees’ out of pocket health care costs related to diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. In December, the company took the step of removing at-risk workers from its operations in Greeley, including workers over the age of 60. The action resulted in the removal of approximately 700 of its US workforce, who continue receiving full pay and benefits.
The vaccination incentive is designed to maximize participation in the vaccination program as soon as they become available to employees of meat packing plants.
“Throughout the pandemic, JBS USA and Pilgrim’s have adopted industry-leading measures to protect our essential front-line workers who continue to provide food for the nation,” said Andre Nogueira, chief executive officer of JBS USA. “Our goal in offering this extra pay to our team members is to remove any barriers to vaccination and incentivize our team members to protect themselves, their families and their coworkers. With nearly 66,000 US team members, we are hopeful this initiative will lead to high vaccination participation rates that will benefit our workforce and the rural communities and cities in which they live and work across America.”
The company said it has implemented an education campaign to spotlight the benefits of receiving the vaccination to protect its operations while maintaining communications with healthcare providers to ensure the most effective means of administering the vaccines. JBS USA and Pilgrim’s said the companies have invested more than $200 million to protect its workforce during the pandemic, in addition to more than $160 million in increased wages and bonuses and $50 million supporting communities where it operates.
Chris Gaddis, head of human resources with JBS, said the company’s internal surveys about workers’ willingness to being vaccinated concluded that participation rates of employees at plants across the United States will range from 60% to 90% throughout its operations.
“We recognize that some team members in our diverse workforce may have concerns or be less inclined to get vaccinated,” Gaddis said. “The incentive bonus is designed to encourage voluntary vaccination and provide an additional measure of support to our team members who have given so much to society and our country during this pandemic.”