NET: While Meatpacking Workers Fear Speaking Out On COVID-19, Their Children Organize For Them

Posted by Tony Vargas · June 05, 2020

Watching this pandemic crisis unfold in my district and across the state hits close to home. I am the youngest son of Peruvian immigrants who moved to America in the 1970’s. As many immigrants do, they lived many professional lives to keep our family afloat. My dad worked on factory lines, drove an ice cream truck in Queens, then a delivery truck, then a taxi, and eventually settled into a job as a machinist — a job considered essential just like the workers at meatpacking plants. My dad worked until the day he got sick with COVID-19 — work was part of his identity. We lost him just over a month ago.

I’ve been working closely with meatpacking workers and organized advocacy groups throughout the coronavirus outbreak and their stories are heartbreaking. Earlier this week I hosted a call with workers and a large group of fellow senators so they could learn what workers are going through. We heard from a woman who has lost eight of her coworkers in the past few weeks, another woman who attends a church where 12 parishioners have passed away, a man who has coronavirus right now, as do many of his family members and friends — he said, “I’m scared and I’m sad.”

Governor Ricketts has the power to protect these food processing plant workers AND our food supply chain by requiring more from these employers. It’s on all of us to keep fighting for these workers, their families, and our communities.

Thanks to NET News for telling this story and bringing attention to what is happening to the workers employed at meatpacking plants and their families.

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