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More than 40 employees lived at their plant for 28 days to make material to protect health care workers

Apr 21, 2020, 6:23 AM | Updated: 6:26 am
WPVI, Joe Boyce...
WPVI, Joe Boyce

(CNN) — Workers at a Pennsylvania manufacturing plant got to clock out and go home for the first time in almost a month after a marathon effort to make material needed for personal protective medical equipment.

More than 40 employees volunteered to spend 28 days at the Braskem America plant in Marcus Hook, near Philadelphia, to make polypropylene — a raw material needed to make N95 masks, medical gowns and other protective gear, CNN affiliate WPVI reported. They went home on Sunday.

Braskem set up the live-in rotation to “to help ensure the health and safety of our team members who are working as an essential service throughout this crisis to keep these key supply lines running,” the company said in a news release.

The plant makes 771 million pounds of polypropylene each year, according to the company’s website.

The crews worked 12-hour shifts, while they were away from their families and friends, but got occasional drive-by visits from loved ones, who waved signs and honked their horns in support, WPVI reported.

The company gave them an increase in wages and provided beds, kitchens, groceries, internet access and iPads.

Workers in Texas and West Virginia also worked the live-in rotations.

“We’re truly honored to be able to give back and support people we will never meet in some way,” operations shift supervisor Joe Boyce told WPVI. “All the first responders, all the people on the front lines, we thank you. That’s what makes our job easy to do.”

The workers seemed excited to be going home and video showed some whooping as they punched the time clock.

They’ll get a week off before returning to their normal shifts, WPVI reported.

Boyce said the world has changed a lot while they’ve been at work.

“We’ve almost been the lucky ones, I’ll say for the last 28 days because I haven’t had to stand six feet from somebody. I haven’t had to put a mask on,” he told WPVI.

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More than 40 employees lived at their plant for 28 days to make material to protect health care workers