The call is growing louder from the union for Maple Leaf Foods workers in Brandon to shutdown the plant.
Jeff Traeger, President of UFCW Local 832, says 8 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend brings the total up to 18 - and they want the plant closed for a one-week period until all test results are in - and the situation is under control.
The company said last Friday there's no evidence the virus has spread in the plant - and it's confident the workplace is safe.
In an email from Janet Riley, Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs at Maple Leaf Foods "Manitoba Public Health Officials have emphasized that there is 'no evidence of workplace transmission.' The cases among our Team Members are part of the 182 active cases occurring in the community now. Public Health officials support our view that our workplace remains safe and that there is no reason to suspend operations: simply put, based on all the evidence, COVID-19 is not being spread at our plant. It is important to note that 131 members of our Brandon plant team have tested negative for COVID-19."
Riley says "Dr. Brent Roussin (Manitoba's chief public health officer) said Maple Leaf's Brandon plant has 'gone beyond public health recommendations.' This comment reflects the fact that the safety of our people is our top priority. We will continue to be vigilant using our robust pandemic protocols including daily health and temperature screening, mandatory face coverings and careful social distancing.
As long as we are aligned with Public Health in our view that we can provide a safe work environment and that our plant is NOT a source of transmission, we will continue to produce the food the Brandon community and communities throughout Canada need."