In meatpacking plants across the country, immigrants and people of color are facing disproportionate COVID-19 infection rates as plants are increasingly confirmed hotspots for COVID-19. As essential workers who are on the frontlines confronting COVID-19, plant employees who are compelled to show up for work each day are at greater risk of occupational exposure and death from the virus. On a press call yesterday afternoon, national and state immigrants’ rights leaders came together with meatpacking workers and their families to address this ongoing crisis and outline the changes that government officials and corporations must make to ensure workers’ safety.
“This pandemic has exposed the historical racial inequities of our health, immigration, and labor/employment systems, which means that immigrants and other workers of color are impacted by COVID-19 on a greater scale. Workers have the right to be safe and healthy when reporting to work each day — not just during a crisis. When deprived of these rights, it affects everyone in the workplace. And as we are seeing now, it can have consequences to our supply chain and throughout the communities where meatpacking workers live,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.
“We cannot think of healthy employees and a resilient supply chain as two separate issues. We will continue to fight alongside workers to demand they receive access to health care, COVID-19 testing, treatment and care, as well as financial relief and protections in the workplace.”