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(WASHINGTON) – In response to the executive order issued this week mandating meatpacking plants remain open during the COVID-19 crisis, the Teamsters Union called on the administration and federal, state, and local regulators today to enforce worker protections and increase testing on the job for food supply chain workers.
“With hundreds of thousands of Teamsters working as essential workers in the food supply chain, our members are on the front lines of national efforts to keep grocery stores supplied during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “Our first priority must be to protect front line workers. Our members are proud to keep America running but they shouldn’t be subjected to unsafe working conditions in order to do so.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the food supply chain in the United States to significant uncertainties and vulnerabilities. The Teamsters Union is calling on the administration to immediately enact enforceable safety standards, compel all employers to provide the highest level of protective equipment, ensure daily testing is available for workers and their communities, enforce physical distancing at all plants, provide emergency premium pay, and mandate full paid sick leave for any workers who are infected.
Additionally, to protect the food supply and ensure these safety standards for workers are enforced, funds must be appropriated to ensure that plants are constantly monitored by federal inspectors and workers must have access to union representation to ensure their safety when they speak out about unsafe working conditions.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/teamsters.