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Coronavirus: Requests for meat packing from Farmer John plant are closed



The Coronavirus outbreak attacked Farmer John, 8 other factories in Vernon

Trade unions representing workers at the Vernon meatpacking plant where at least 153 have descended with COVID-19 Monday called for the immediate closure of the facility, saying there was no evidence of steps taken to control the working coronavirus.

The outbreak at the John Farmer factory, a division of Smithfield Foods that produces Dodger Dogs and other pork products, is by far the largest in Los Angeles County that occurs outside nursing homes, prisons or other residences, according to data from the Department of Public Health districts.

The union representing most of the 1,800 factory employees alleged that the company was delaying protection measures until workers were sick and not transparent about what was known about how and to whom the virus had spread inside the facility.

“Smithfield has not provided complete information about what actually happened inside the Vernon plant,” said John Grant, president of UFCW Local 770. “Without information, we cannot make decisions about worker health and safety.”

The union wants Smithfield to continue to pay workers while the company closes the plant for cleaning and an investigation into whether it complies with state regulators and regional health departments.

In a statement Monday, Smithfield said his employees “are very important to our nation’s response to COVID-19. We thank them for keeping food on the American table and for implementing aggressive measures to protect their health and safety during this pandemic. “

At Farmer John, the company has taken steps that it says follow or exceed the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That includes providing personal protective equipment, placing Plexiglas barriers on the production floor and in break rooms and temperature screening. The company has offered free testing, eliminating co-payment for virus-related treatments and workers are paid when they are quarantined.

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“We do everything we can, as fast as we can,” the company statement said.

This outbreak is part of a wave of national infection in a meat packaging plant, where employees work long hours in tight places conducive to the spread of the corona virus. Thousands have come down with COVID-19 at factories, including about one fifth of the meatpacking force in Iowa and South Dakota, according to a CDC study.

At Farmer John, there was an initial outbreak in the ham-boning department last month, but it appears to have been under control until recently, union representatives said, when the number of cases reported to local health officials began to skyrocket.

Balloon cases occur when companies make voluntary testing available to all employees. A spokeswoman for the county Public Health Department, which has helped the city of Vernon in responding to the outbreak, said it was not clear whether the increase in cases was caused by additional testing “or to spread among workers.”

Pedro Albarran, an El Monte resident who has worked at John’s Farm for 25 years, said the company did not start providing masks and face shields until his colleagues were sick and delegations of workers repeatedly went to management.

“We kept asking and asking, and finally we got it,” he said.

While some cutting lines now have a Plexiglas barrier between workers, not all do it, Albarran said. In the row, where the pork shoulder is sliced, the cutters still stand so close that they hit the shoulder when they hold the meat, he said.

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“It’s all day,” he said.

Smithfield Foods said workers outside the health care industry were not advised to wear face masks until the CDC revised its guidelines on April 3. Overnight, the company faced the challenge of procuring masks and face shields when the supply chain was “maximized”. “

“We cannot make these items emerge from thin air. If we can, we will definitely do it, “the company statement said. “The suggestion that we are slow to react improperly and completely ignores troublesome truths – supplies are not available.”

Vernon, an industrial city south of downtown L.A., has witnessed an outbreak in eight other food preparation factories, including a meat packaging plant, a coffee company, a company that manufactures frozen pizza, a pack of green tea and a bakery.

Many who work in Vernon live in the LA southeastern community. with high density, including Bell, Bell Gardens, Maywood and South Gate. Public health officials said they were concerned about factory workers carrying the virus home to relatives and neighbors.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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