Nissan worker speaks out on pandemic

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)– A Nissan Canton employee is coming forward and on-camera about how the company is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our newsroom gets calls and emails from families and Nissan workers themselves, but many people want to remain anonymous for fear they may lose their jobs, but now
one man is speaking out to speak up for his fellow workers.

Robert Hathorn assembles motors at Nissan in Canton for commercial vehicles.

He says one of his co-workers tested positive for COVID-19 which prompted him to get tested.

“This happened last week, we got a word from our co-worker that tested positive or whatever and HR didn’t let us know that they tested positive so he called one of my co-workers and let us know so the next day I went ahead and I got my test,” said Robert Hathorn.

Hathorn says they are not supposed to come to work while tests are pending.

“HR called me and wanted me to come to work which was outside of the policy cause basically like we can’t come back or we’re not supposed to until the test results say we’re negative and on the phone call they told me not to worry about going to medical just go straight to work on the line,” said Hathorn.

He said while HR told him to come to work his supervisor told him to stay home, but for others he says that wasn’t the case.

“Workers have been saying that HR has been calling them while test results have been pending and I got word last night that they called two, three people in,” said Hathorn. “Three people came to work last night who had tested positive and they haven’t got retested yet before they came back to work but they told them if they didn’t come back to work they wouldn’t get paid over the shut down over the next two weeks.”

He’s calling on the human resources department to better handle the COVID-19 situation. He says it’s chaotic and they deserve more pay.

“To be honest I really think we should be getting hazardous pay. and we’re not getting compensated for that,” said Hathorn. “Our bonus that we normally get, it’s normally like $3,000. We didn’t even get it this year, instead they gave us a $1,000 welcome back payment so we would like some compensation.”

The spokesperson for Nissan says if someone has a pending test they are to remain at home until that test comes back negative, and they are paid during that time.

Hathorn was not part of the contact tracing after the positive test in his zone so Nissan says they wouldn’t have recommended him for testing based on CDC guidelines of being in close contact of less than six feet for more than 10 minutes. Nissan says they did inform workers in the zone about the positive test. They say the protocol is to inform employees of positive tests in their zone.

Hathorn says he got a test himself, and he was cleared. He says he’s being paid for the days he stayed home. Nissan said as a thank you for their dedication during the pandemic, they gave employees a welcome back payment. A formula-based bonus program goes into a effect July 1.

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