A weekend ransomware attack on the world’s largest meat company disrupts production around the world.
While one of the world’s largest meat suppliers resumed production on Wednesday after a ransomware attack, its pork plant in Ottumwa and Marshalltown was still not at full capacity.
JBS SA canceled operations on the cutting room floor for the second day in a row in Ottumwa, according to a Facebook post. Workers with other duties, including packing and curing meat, were working normal shifts there on Wednesday.
Some shifts in Marshalltown were also canceled on Wednesday, said United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1149 president Roger Kail, whose union represents workers at the plant. He said he was not sure which specific shifts were canceled, but added that the company planned to operate at full capacity on Thursday.
“Everything is ready to go,” he said on Wednesday afternoon.
Despite the slowdowns, JBS announced Tuesday evening that “the vast majority” of its production of beef, pork, poultry and prepared foods in the United States would resume on Wednesday. Company spokespersons did not return emails seeking comment on Wednesday.
Related: Cyber security attack hits computer systems of world’s largest meat supplier JBS in US, Australia
The Brazil-based company informed the White House this week that it had been the victim of a hack, which it believed to be the work of a Russian criminal organization.
JBS said Tuesday that its IT staff and plant managers felt comfortable returning to business on Wednesday. The company did not say whether it paid the hackers a ransom because Colonial Pipeline officials have last month after a similar attack temporarily cut off much of the eastern United States’ fuel supply.
“We recognize our responsibility to our team members, producers and consumers to resume operations as soon as possible,” JBS USA CEO Andre Nogueira said in a statement Tuesday evening.
JBS is one of the largest meat packers in the country, along with Tyson Foods, Cargill and National Beef. Factory downturns can be costly for Iowa cattle ranchers, as was the case when thousands of workers fell ill at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak last year.
After: Tyson says he will shut down pork processing plant in Iowa indefinitely during COVID-19
In addition to the Ottumwa and Marshalltown pork plants, the company operates a plant in Council Bluffs under its Plumrose USA brand.
Brian Ulin, secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 230, said the company has about 2,300 employees in Ottumwa. Kail said the company employs about 2,200 workers in Marshalltown. Union representatives at the Council Bluffs plant did not respond to calls for comment this week.
“UFCW (is) urges JBS to ensure that all of its meat processing workers receive their contractually guaranteed wages as these plant closures continue,” said Marc Perrone, the union’s international president, in a statement. Tuesday afternoon
JBS’s nine beef processing plants closed on Tuesday. None of these factories are in Iowa.
Tyler Jett covers jobs and the economy for the Des Moines Register. Contact him at email@example.com, 515-284-8215, or on Twitter at @LetsJett.
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