There is no question that when the pandemic began just over a year ago, KLN Family Brands faced unprecedented challenges as an essential industry. Our first priority was and remains the safety and well-being of our amazing workforce who stepped up in numerous ways to ensure a safe, steady food supply chain for consumers. Partnering with local government leaders, health care experts and our employees, we worked swiftly to implement numerous safety measures. Those relationships and partnerships over the past year were invaluable, and now are more important than ever as we work to help vaccinate our employees and get back to normal.
As an employer, we strive to be a resource, facilitator and partner, helping our essential employees get vaccinated as quickly as possible. We are not mandating that our employees be vaccinated, but we are working every day to breakdown walls and barriers to vaccination. KLN is providing 4 hours of additional PTO for everyone who completes the vaccination process, ensuring Spanish-speaking translators are on hand to answer questions for our non-English speaking employees, and offering onsite vaccinations for any interested frontline employees.
In partnership with Otter Tail County Public Health, we held our first vaccination clinic on March 18 where we vaccinated 140 of our frontline workers (after the state expanded vaccination to frontline food production workers) and also held follow up vaccination events on April 9 and 15 to administer first and second doses. We have seen great and growing interest in vaccination, and many of our employees have also utilized other local clinics and pharmacies to receive their COVID-19 shots. What’s more, with strong relationships with many local clinics and hospitals in our communities, they reach out to KLN regularly when they have extra doses that need to be used so we can tap into our network and find interested employees.
Continuing to follow the latest health and safety protocols, as well as ensuring we are a partner and resource for our employees, has helped KLN continue to run smoothly and efficiently throughout the pandemic. Getting employees vaccinated is an important step forward, not just for us as an employer, but for the health and safety of our workforce, and for all Minnesotans.
To all of our amazing frontline workers, local leaders, public health officials, and partners groups like AgriGrowth who have advocated on behalf of our industry over the past year and partnered with us on employee safety and vaccinations - thank you. It takes partnership and community to keep us all safe.
Josie Hendrickx is an AgriGrowth Board Member and Director of Sourcing for KLN Family Brands