Peter Pan Seafood: Employees Must Be Vaccinated Or They'll Be Fired

If You Want To Work At Peter Pan Seafood In Valdez Cutting Fish, You've Gotta Take The Vaccine  The docks of Valdez. (Photo, Country Jou...

If You Want To Work At Peter Pan Seafood In Valdez Cutting Fish, You've Gotta Take The Vaccine 

The docks of Valdez. (Photo, Country Journal) 

Remember back at the start of the pandemic? This was before "community transmission" led to Covid being everywhere. We are in the middle of community transmission right now with the Delta variant. You can't tell nowadays where you might run across Covid. In stores, parks, restaurants, churches, hotels, gas stations,  at grandma's house... That's community transmission in action. 

But early on, the very first clusters of cases happened in clearly defined, identifiable locations where lots of people doing the same thing were squeezed together and exposed to each other – all in one place. 

At first, the worst offenders were nursing homes, cruise ships and food processing plants. 

Covid gave a bad name to all these services, and the nursing homes, cruises and food processors have been struggling to recover ever since. 

In Alaska, in addition to nursing home and cruise outbreaks there have been repeated and well-publicized outbreaks of Covid in fish processing plants and on fish trawlers. 

On September 2nd, 2021, Peter Pan Seafood, which operates three major fish processing plants in Alaska, made an announcement. Peter Pan's employees in Alaska (at Valdez, Port Moller, Dillingham, Sand Point, Naknek and King Cove) will all have to be vaccinated. So will Peter Pan's employees in Washington State. 

There will be exemptions for religious and medical reasons. But if you refuse the vaccine, you've made a choice. 

You'll be fired. 

Actually, this is a direction in which many food processors have been headed. The concept of Covid-infected people handling your chicken, fish and pork is not appealing. Neither is the specter of having food processing companies publicly close down, due to massive infections in the buildings, involving hundreds of the people who process our meats. 

In August, 2021, Tyson Foods came to a similar decision. Tyson is the world's second largest processor of chicken, pork and beef.  Tyson and JBS (the world's largest meat processor) became household names last year in America. 

And not because everybody just loves their chicken drumsticks, Jimmy Dean sausages and Hillshire hams.

As the workers in these meat plants came down sick in large numbers, the companies'  names, their buildings, and their well-known logos on the outside of the buildings were on TV, day after day – along with yet another story about sick people with Covid inside those windowless walls as they packaged pork butts and chicken thighs. 

Never mind the awful virus, the hospitalizations, the human deaths and the risk to the workers... this was just bad press.  Bad press is bad business for any company that wants to project a squeaky clean, safe image. 

That's because Americans just can't stand the idea of contaminated food. 

Food recalls are common in the United States. Just in the month of August, 2021, the USDA has a recall out on 862,000 pounds of salmonella-infected uncured trays of salami and other specialty meats. There is also a recall out at the same time for 42,000 lbs. of chicken salad and dips contaminated (possibly) with "hard white plastic." There is a recall out for 50,000 lbs of salmonella-contaminated stuffed chicken products, some with broccoli and cheese. And there is a recall out for possible contamination from pieces of gray nitrile gloves – mixed into the (very fancy) Panera company's chicken tortilla soup. 

On August 3rd, the Tyson Meat Company put out a notice:

Tyson Foods to Require COVID-19 Vaccinations for its U.S. Workforce

Springdale, Ark. – August 3, 2021 – To protect team members, their families and their communities, Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN), is requiring its team members at U.S. office locations to be fully vaccinated by October 1, 2021. All other team members are required to be fully vaccinated by November 1, 2021, subject to ongoing discussions with locations represented by unions. 

This action makes Tyson Foods the largest U.S. food company to require COVID-19 vaccinations for its entire workforce.


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