Workers at meat plants across Canada are at high risk in the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 1,400 of these workers have been infected; some are in critical condition, and some have died. The worst affected plants have been temporarily closed in response to concentrated viral outbreaks. The federal government has announced tens of millions of dollars in aid for the companies, but no measures have been announced to ensure worker health and safety.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) of Canada are insisting that support for the food industry must include a commitment to protect the lives, health and safety of food workers. The UFCW is demanding adequate physical distancing, strict sanitation procedures and provision of personal protective equipment, among other measures. These require changes to workplace organization and a union role in their implementation. The UFCW has been advocating these measures since the onset of the crisis, but the government refuses to commit to these essential provisions for protecting worker and public health and mitigating the spread of the virus.
Canada’s food workers need action now – CLICK HERE to sign the UFCW petition to the federal government: Tell the Government of Canada that taxpayer money to corporations must first guarantee the health and safety of workers – and food workers must have a say in determining the conditions of their own health and safety!