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Meatpacking Union Calls For Increased Pay And National Company Virus Registry

By Justin Hicks, IPB News | Published on in Business, Health
Union workers at a car rally outside the Indiana Statehouse. (Justin Hicks / IPB News)
Union workers at a car rally outside the Indiana Statehouse. (Justin Hicks / IPB News)

A labor union that represents meatpacking, grocery and health workers in Indiana is calling for hazard pay and mask requirements at work. It’s part of a broader effort to enforce national workplace health and safety standards amid the pandemic.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union held an online news conference calling for increased pay and safety requirements to be enforced. It would also like for larger companies to put data on workers affected by COVID-19 on a national public registry.

Dennis Medbourn works at the Tyson Foods plant in Logansport. He said despite mandatory mask wearing and plexiglass barriers, he was one of the roughly 900 workers there who tested positive for the virus.

“By the time most of these things were done, it was too late to have an impact,” he said. “If it had been sooner, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten sick.”

The union said in the meatpacking industry alone, nearly 100 of their members across the country have died from COVID-19, and another 5,000 have tested positive or are symptomatic.