Coronavirus case at chicken plant prompts workers to stay off the job

Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 12:57 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

A positive test at an Eastern Carolina chicken plant caused workers to stay off the job on Wednesday.

Bertie County confirms that an employee at the Perdue Farms plant in Lewiston-Woodville has the coronavirus.

Multiple employees told WITN News they wouldn't go to work yesterday. One worker estimated some 200 people decided to stay outside.

Diana Souder, Perdue corporate communications director said some 60 employees protested going to work on Wednesday. She said more than 1,700 work at the plant.

Souder says after speaking to management, most of the workers went to work, though some went home.

Souder told WITN the employees who wouldn't work were not fired.

The county says Perdue took "extraordinary measures" several weeks ago to prevent cases within their plants. Those included using private contractors as well as in-house cleaning/decontamination services, temperature checks, masks, gloves, in addition to normal food and safety protocols.

A medical facility for workers is also available in Lewiston, according to the county.

Perdue also says it has given hourly workers a $1-per-hour pay raise, while piece rate employees, such as truck drivers, have received a $40-per-week pay increase through May 10th.