ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Peter Pan Seafood Co., LLC has implemented an official policy requiring workers be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Peter Pan came under new U.S. and Alaska ownership at the beginning of 2021 and implemented a new mission and set of core values, among them — to be purposeful in all actions. Peter Pan’s COVID-19 vaccination policy is rooted in leading, listening and learning. Peter Pan always strives to be a leader, especially when it comes to creating a good workplace for employees. Company leaders are also committed to being good listeners. Listening to what employees, customers and the community wants and needs. Finally, leaders at Peter Pan are always learning, and this policy comes at a time when company leaders are learning more about COVID-19 variants and are seeing increased COVID-19 case numbers in Alaska and Washington.
Company leaders now believe more than ever in the importance of its staff being vaccinated. They say this policy reflects the current state of the pandemic and that the policy will be reevaluated and adjusted often as new information becomes available.
“Our team often works in close quarters and in remote communities with limited access to health care resources,” said Rodger May, president and chief growth officer at Peter Pan. “Requiring employees to be vaccinated is the new gold standard. This is the best way I know to keep them and the communities we work in as healthy as possible. It is as much about the person next to us, our families and our communities as it is about ourselves.”
The policy goes into effect in tiers. The first tier required to be vaccinated includes employees at the company’s corporate headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, the Seattle warehouse, the Valdez processing facility, the Port Moller processing facility, the Dillingham processing facility, the Dillingham support facility, the Sand Point support facility and the Nornak support facility. In tier one, 95.26% of Peter Pan employees are already vaccinated. Employees in tier one are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, 2021, with tier two employees to follow at a later date. Tier two employees include all those who work at the King Cove facility.
The policy defines full vaccination as having received two shots of either the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Peter Pan has encouraged and provided opportunities for employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 since the vaccines first became available to seafood workers in Alaska in early February 2021. Prior to the summer season, Peter Pan offered to set up COVID-19 vaccination appointments for all employees who were on their way to the plants or during their quarantine and assisted employees with obtaining their second shot onsite. All employees traveling to Alaska were flown to Anchorage where they stayed in hotels and were monitored and tested by medical staff. Employees were paid for their hours and received meals until they tested out of quarantine and were taken via charter flights to the plants.
Peter Pan’s COVID-19 vaccine policy does not apply to its fleet. However, company leaders do encourage its fleet to be vaccinated and the company has made vaccines available to its fleet since April 2021. Peter Pan contacts clinics in Seattle or Alaska, whichever is more convenient, and schedules COVID-19 vaccine appointments for its fleet.
Company leaders believe the policy to be a huge benefit for current and potential new employees.
“This policy gives employees peace of mind, especially in an industry like ours where a positive case could mean shutting down an entire facility for a period of time,” May said. “Another benefit is for our workers who come from outside of the U.S. Many other parts of the world don’t have the access to vaccines that we have. When our employees get here, no matter where they come from, we make sure they have access to the COVID-19 vaccine.”
According to Peter Pan’s policy, the company will accept religious and medical exemptions.
The new ownership team of Peter Pan has taken the COVID-19 pandemic seriously since taking over in January this year. Safety measures in place include requiring masks inside all facilities and mess halls. Peter Pan is operating all processing facilities as closed campuses which means once employees, whether they are local or from out of state, arrive on campus, they can only leave for emergencies and that all visitors are limited.