Big banks, including Deutsche Bank and Bank of America, are testing employees for COVID-19 before they step into the office. Insider took a closer look at their plans.

Arizona covid-19 testing coronavirus
Physician John Jones, D.O. tests administrative assistant Morgan Bassin for COVID-19 at One Medical in Scottsdale, Arizona.

  • As COVID-19 continues to spread, big banks worldwide are monitoring staff that come into the office.
  • Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, and BoA are all testing employees for COVID-19, sources told Insider.
  • JPMorgan and Wells Fargo said they require employees to complete a health check before they arrive.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Major banks worldwide have launched COVID-19 testing programs in order to enable a return to work for some employees during the pandemic.

Some banks are offering their staff lab-based PCR tests, which are considered the most accurate way of detecting coronavirus, but they can cost around $100 to process, per The New York Times. Results of PCR tests usually come back within a couple of days.

Other banks are providing antigen tests, also known as lateral flow tests, which give results in about 15 to 30 minutes. Both antigen and PCR tests require swabbing the nose or throat.

“I have been back at work since the start of the year and have been asked to produce three negative test results every week,” a source who works in a bank in London told Insider on the condition of anonymity. “It’s a bit stressful but the antigen tests are quick and I have got into a nice routine now. It’s also nice to be able to go back to work, although I miss the pre-COVID office environment,” they said.

However, a number of other banks are asking employees to fill out questionnaires about possible symptoms and exposure to the virus before they come into the workplace.

Insider spoke with sources working in banks across the world to get a sense of return-to-work plans. 

Deutsche Bank

Twice a week, Deutsche Bank is testing UK employees considered key workers that work on the busiest floors in the office, sources familiar with the system said. They are being tested with PCR tests. It’s unclear whether staff working on other floors are being also tested.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment to Insider.

Bank of America

Bank of America is testing employees on a weekly basis if they’re coming into the office, according to sources familiar with the matter. The testing is currently targeted at UK offices, and there are plans to roll out the tests to the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region. 

Bank of America declined to comment.

Read more: Bank of America has promoted 86 managing directors in its sales and trading, research, and operations groups – here are all the names

JPMorgan

JPMorgan told Insider that employees coming into the workplace in all locations are required to take a daily health check before entering an office. The health check is a survey that can be completed via mobile or laptop, and asks if you’ve been exposed or in close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19 or showing related symptoms.

The bank said the daily health checks had been in place since the pandemic began in March.

On top of this, JPMorgan is also sending at-home testing kits to staff, if they want one. Employees are also able to book a PCR COVID-19 test at one of the bank’s on-site health and wellness centers.

Wells Fargo

A Wells Fargo spokesperson confirmed to Insider that all workers who go into the bank are required to complete a self-screening assessment, which involves filling out a questionnaire about whether they have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19. They must complete this every day before entering the workplace, the spokesperson said.

In its largest US locations, the bank has an on-site nurse to check staff for COVID-19 symptoms and refer them for testing.

Credit Suisse

Sources familiar with the situation at Swiss bank Credit Suisse said it is offering its staff in London weekly testing, despite only a small number of them coming into the workplace. Credit Suisse declined to comment.

Citibank and Barclays could not be reached for comment. HSBC didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Are you an employee in the banking sector being tested for COVID-19 on a daily basis? Get in touch with this reporter via email: kduffy@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I’m a former poultry farmer. The meatpacking industry has failed workers during the pandemic and I’m not surprised by the deadly consequences.

poultry plant
Plant workers produce lean, finely textured beef (LFTB) at the Beef Products Inc (BPI) facility in South Sioux City, Nebraska, November 19, 2012.

  • Tyson Food executives in Iowa made bets on how many of their employees would contract COVID-19.
  • Meatpacking horror stories like these aren’t surprising for those of us in the industry.
  • The corporate level of this industry faces no accountability for their heinous actions.
  • Craig Watts is a former contract poultry farmer.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for America’s food workers, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the meatpacking industry.

USA Today reported last month that executives at the Triumph Foods meatpacking plant in St. Joseph, Missouri, lobbied government officials to keep the plant open at the height of the Spring coronavirus outbreak, a delay that led to hundreds of workers getting sick and at least two deaths. 

In Iowa, not only did Tyson Food executives keep their factory open, but they also allegedly made bets on how many of their workers would contract the virus. 

These are the latest examples of callous worker treatment by meatpackers – and of a failure of public agencies tasked with overseeing them. While this may be shocking to the general public, it isn’t surprising for those of us in the industry. I was a contract farmer for one of the biggest poultry companies in the US for 24 years. To me, this looks like standard operating procedure.

Par for the course

Nationally, more than 49,000 meatpacking plant workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and 253 have died.

Along with nursing homes and prisons, meat and poultry plants were the leading source of virus outbreaks in the spring. Workers on the processing line reported no way to social distance, no PPE, and no time to even cover a cough. But rather than quickly close the plants to control the outbreaks and establish safety measures, meatpacking companies dragged their feet. 

Shortly after the largest plants did finally close, an executive order from President Donald Trump deemed them “essential” and allowed them to re-open, but with no mandate for worker protections.

I first talked with poultry plant workers about a decade ago, when I was still raising chickens. They told me what they had been promised in the job and that the conditions were definitely not as advertised; about intimidation and pressure to keep their heads down; about being treated as expendable. 

This year, I’ve heard meatpacking workers, many of them immigrants and refugees, describe being afraid of the virus but even more afraid of speaking up. Speaking up could cost their job, and then how would they feed their family?

Take out my $500,000 mortgage on now-empty chicken houses, and we’ve got the same story.

Corporate Control

I wanted to raise chickens and raise a family, that was all. I signed a contract with a major poultry company in 1992 and built those houses. The company hooked me by promising that after ten years, my mortgage would be satisfied and I could really make money raising birds. As it turned out, getting the barns paid off in ten years was a pipe dream. Every year, there was some new technology they wanted me to invest in, and the understanding was that if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t get more birds.

The company controlled everything: they sent the feed, told me what medicines to give. Sometimes they delivered flocks of sick birds and I wasn’t allowed to make real changes to improve their health. If I complained, I might not get another flock. I needed the birds to pay the mortgage, so I was stuck.

In 2014, I finally did speak up about how the contract required me to treat the birds. The company tried to intimidate and discredit me, showing up on my farm for audits at all hours. I finally quit in 2016, but clearly this was bigger than me.

I got involved with Rural Advancement Fund International-USA (RAFI-USA) and other groups advocating for common sense regulations for the meat and poultry industry so the power wasn’t 100% in the hands of the companies. However, the meatpackers fought tooth and nail against any little thing to change the status quo, and they kept winning. Under the Trump Administration, the federal Grain Inspectors, Packers, and Stockyards Administration, the  agency tasked with protecting contract farmers, was essentially eliminated when it was merged with another department in 2017.

I have seen again and again that when it comes to the big meatpacking companies, both federal and state oversight bodies act like customer service agencies instead of regulatory agencies. Customer service to the meatpackers, that is, not to the farmers or workers.

And here we are again. In October, a memo came out showing that meat industry lobby groups wrote parts of Trump’s executive order to re-open the plants. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper backed off a pledge to release guidance for meatpacking plants due to industry pressure. Groups in Iowa have sued the state’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) saying the agency has not protected workers in several industries including meatpacking. The list goes on.

Meatpacking plant workers and farmers are both deemed “essential” in the pandemic. Why do we keep being treated instead as expendable, not only by the companies we work for, but by the very government agencies that are supposed to protect us?

Craig Watts is a former contract poultry farmer, who works part time as a farmer advocate at Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA (RAFI-USA).

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