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21 May 2020

Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility

Investor statement: Recommendations for meat processors during COVID-19

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Meat and poultry processing plants have emerged as among the most dangerous hot spots in the U.S. for COVID-19... [T]here is heightened concern among investors, legislators and the public for the essen5al frontline workers in this sector who are being exposed to increased health risks... [C]ompanies have a responsibility to implement enhanced protections to protect workers fulfilling corporate operations and those in their supply chains.

Processing companies with U.S. operations... need to demonstrate how they will meet the dual challenges of maintaining meat production while prioritizing worker protection and safety... We urge companies to:

  • Provide wage increases (rather than lump sum future bonuses contingent on uninterrupted attendance) to reflect the increased risks to workers...
  • Provide personal protective equipment
  • Respect workers’ rights to freedom of association, to organize a union and to bargain collectively, free from retaliation, as recognized by the UN through its International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions.
  • In non-union plants, implement systems and policies to both protect workers from retaliation and encourage workplace safety and risk reporting