Workers stage walkout after employee tests positive for COVID-19

WATCH: Workers stage walkout after employee tests positive for COVID-19

WALLS, Miss. — Workers at a north Mississippi pillow factory walked off the job Monday morning. They told FOX13 it was because an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

Workers at Brentwood Originals, a pillow factory in Walls, said that the employee’s wife also works at the factory.

They said when the wife told supervisors her husband had coronavirus, that's when they walked off the job.

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Management said they are taking steps to protect everyone.

An employee told FOX13 that the company told them that since they didn't have documentation that another employee was sick, they could not release them.

Carolyn Vardaman has worked at Brentwood Originals for four years. She said that while the other employees were walking out around 8a.m. she went to her manager to hear it for herself.

“I would have stayed, but after I talked to the manager and he told me that the wife did come to work this morning and reported that her husband had COVID-19, but they didn't have any documentation so there was nothing they could do,” Vardaman said.

Vardaman told FOX13 that later the company told her and other employees they are having the building commercially cleaned and that employees will be paid for taking Monday and Tuesday off but are expected back at work on Wednesday.

The parking lot was nearly empty when FOX13 was there Monday.

Vardaman said nearly 300 employees walked out. The wife was still there at work and they said they were in fear for their lives.

Vardaman is a mother of six who said she is concerned she could lose her job for speaking up. But she's concerned for everyone she works with.

“Because people are dying from this and it seems to me that you have to speak out,” she said. “Someone has to speak out. If it has to be me, okay, I love my life.

Vardaman said that rumors that an employee tested positive for coronavirus started circulating on Friday.

FOX13 has reached out to Brentwood Originals for comment. We will update this story when we hear from them.

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