LINCOLN, NEB. —
Packers Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI) confirmed on Dec. 14 that JBS USA ended its cleaning contract with the sanitation company at its Grand Island, Neb., and Worthington, Minn., beef processing facilities.
PSSI stated that ending the contract would affect all employees at both locations with those impacted being paid through the end of both contracts, which will end in January 2023.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) stated that PSSI plans to lay off 121 employees at the JBS Worthington plant when the contract ends on Jan. 22, 2023. A letter from DEED showed that PSSI worked at the Minnesota plant since Dec. 1997.
Last week, PSSI entered into an agreement with the US District Court of Nebraska in Lincoln, following an ongoing US Department of Labor case. The company faces allegations of hiring dozens of minors for overnight cleaning work.
Earlier in December, DOL outlined the agreed terms by PSSI, starting with reviewing existing policies and training materials for compliance related to child labor laws.
PSSI reiterated its stance on the issue in its recent statement regarding the layoffs.
“As we’ve made clear from the start, PSSI has an absolute company-wide prohibition against the employment of anyone under the age of 18 and zero tolerance for any violation of that policy – period,” the company said. “PSSI strives to be the leader in food safety solutions and is committed to ensuring our customers can depend on us as experts at what we do. We are thankful for and appreciative of the opportunity to serve JBS at these locations and will also work to ensure they have a smooth transition as we move forward.”
JBS confirmed its plans to no longer contract with PSSI.
“We take the situation with regard to PSSI very seriously,” said Nikki Richardson, spokesperson for JBS. “Consistent with our zero-tolerance policy, we have made the decision to discontinue PSSI’s services at our Grand Island, Neb., and Worthington, Minn., facilities, and we’re currently evaluating alternative solutions for sanitation services in those locations.”