USA: Investors call for increased protections for meat processing workers due to Covid-19; incl. company responses
The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility has released a statement signed by 118 institutional investors with $2.3 trillion USD in combined assets highlighting risks to workers in the meat sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic and calling for increased protections for workers.
Their recommendations include:
- Enforce physical distancing and reduce line speed;
- Provide wage increases to reflect the increased risks to workers, and full paid sick-leave for all workers who test positive for the virus;
- Support worker’s rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining;
- Rigorous testing before/after shifts and retesting and quarantining of all employees who have had confirmed contact with other infected persons before allowing them back in the plant; and,
- Clarify that the company opposes any and all federal or state policies that would deny meatpacking and poultry workers unemployment benefits or stimulus relief for refusing to go back to work for fear of contracting COVID-19.
We invited Hormel, JBS, Marfrig, Sanderson Farms, Seaboard Foods, Smithfield, and Tyson to respond. Responses from Sanderson Farms, Seaboard Foods, Smithfield, and Tyson are below. Hormel, JBS, and Marfrig did not respond.