Meat packing plants and other crowded workplaces have had issues regarding COVID-19. However, people must keep working in order to put food on shelves.
Iowa is having statewide issues getting protections for workers and is making a stand. Iowa AFL-CIO President Charlie Wishman explained what actions they are taking to protect workers on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
Issues at meat packing plants
The meat packing industry requires workers to be close together, indoors and work long days. These workers have worked diligently to continue providing food for Americans, but little has been done to protect them.
Wishman said the Iowa AFL-CIO has tried talking to Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has essentially ignored them and went on to cheer the employers putting workers at risk.
Since the state will not listen and their Occupational Safety and Health Administration state plan has been of little help, Wishman said a group of unions came together to promote safety. In doing so, the unions are able to hold each other accountable.
Iowa AFL-CIO actions against OSHA
Wishman said the AFL-CIO has filed an OSHA complaint against the Iowa House and Senate leadership for not doing their jobs. In the complaint, they asked for a mask mandate to be instituted in the statehouse. They also asked that a log be kept of employees who contract COVID-19.
Additionally, the Iowa AFL-CIO found major areas of concern within the state plan, such as very few inspections of workplaces. This has resulted in the Iowa AFL-CIO calling for a federal audit of the state plan.