JBS SA, world's largest meat producer, said that its American unit is increasing worker pay in beef plants and investing more than $130 million to increase processing capacity.
The Brazilian-based company is expanding its production at two of its major beef processing plants located in Omaha, Nebraska, said JBS in a statement Wednesday. The $150 million annualized pay increase is for workers across nine beef plants.
The announcement comes as the pressure mounts on the industry to share more of its profits with ranchers and workers. The expansions the capacity by almost 300,000 head of cattle per year and provides 'increased access and opportunity for the more than 1,100 local cattle producers supporting the facilities, JBS said.
The rise in the pay actually follows a knock into the meat industry last year, as hundreds died by coronavirus, with thousands of U.S. food workers sick and dying. Absenteeism in some plants in the industry has been high, and companies have been raising wages to lure workers.
'Our longstanding commitment to the JBS USA Fed Beef Business Unit and continued investment in its success will help ensure that beef remains at the center of plates around the world for years to come, Tim Schellpeper said in the statement.
The Grand Island facility is a two-shift beef processing plant in central Nebraska employing more than 3,600 people and the capacity to process more than 1.4 million cattle per year. The Nebraska plant is a single shift, beef processing plant employing more than 650.
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