Labor

Colorado meatpacking union protests ‘ineffectual’ federal fine amid coronavirus

A Colorado union on Wednesday protested against the Trump administration for the “ineffectual” fine levied against meatpacking company JBS for failing to protect workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in its second large coronavirus-related citation, fined JBS in Greeley, Colo., $15,615 on Friday.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 (UFCW 7), which represents about 3,000 workers at that plant, called the fine “ineffectual” in a press release on Wednesday and the protest was held outside the OSHA Denver office.

UFCW 7 President Kim Cordova, AFL-CIO executive director of Colorado Dennis Dougherty, and families of workers who had died from coronavirus were in attendance. Six workers died and more than 300 tested positive for COVID-19 at JBS Greeley facility.

“Please note ironically, that the OSHA bureaucrats are not working from this office because it is deemed too dangerous during the pandemic, while JBS’ workers were not protected and six of our members died, almost 300 were infected,” UFCW wrote in a press release about the protest.

The JBS Greeley facility closed on April 13 for sanitation after a coronavirus outbreak and reopened on April 24, AP reported.

Last week, OSHA cited pork producer Smithfield Foods for failing to protect workers from coronavirus exposure and fined the company $13,494 on its Sioux Falls, S.D. facility.

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