Wendell Young IV, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, said that about 400 workers had returned to work at the JBS beef plant in Sauderton, Pa., compared to about 1,500 who would work on a typical day. , which represents the workers. in the plant. A JBS beef plant in Cactus, Texas, on Wednesday canceled work for several workers scheduled for one of its shifts, according to a Facebook post created for workers.
Mr Young said the company had told the union that the plant would essentially be running normally by Thursday, although workers would be delayed by a few hours to start.
JBS has not said whether it has paid its attackers and has not returned a request for comment.
The disruption comes at a time when the prices of beef as well as chicken and pork are skyrocketing. Meatpacking plants are struggling to meet high demand, largely because of the same labor-shortage issues that restaurants and other industries have struggled with in the pandemic.
“We’re seeing this impasse at slaughterhouses, and it’s happening when both domestic and export demand has been exceptional,” said Don Close, a senior animal protein analyst at Rabo Research.
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In recent months, reopened restaurants began placing orders for beef, pork and poultry again, and people gathered outside and grilled as vaccination levels rose and the weather warmed. According to the Department of Agriculture, increased demand, coupled with hiring challenges, has led to a 49 percent increase in wholesale beef prices since mid-March and steak cuts prices up 64 percent.
“Everybody suddenly woke up to the reality that we didn’t have enough products,” said Altin Kalo, chief economist at Steiner Consulting Group, which forecasts and analyzes the protein industry.
Mark Lauritson, international vice president overseeing meatpacking for the Food Workers Union, said that many meatpacking plants in the United States are about 10 to 20 percent below full staffing levels, but the situation was slowly improving as the union raised pay talked with. Companies like JBS.