LINCOLN, Neb. – Today, the ACLU of Nebraska sent letters to four local health department directors and Nebraska Department of Labor Commissioner John Albin, calling for them to mandate increased protections for meatpacking plant workers.
While Nebraska’s meatpacking plants have adopted some increased safety measures, none have fully implemented recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and University of Nebraska Medical Center.
The letters specifically call for officials to require a minimum of six feet distance between workers on the processing floor and notification of health authorities and coworkers of any positive tests.
“We reject the false choice, presented by other officials, of either closing the plants altogether or risking the health and safety of workers,” said Adam Sipple, legal director of the ACLU of Nebraska. “Plants can continue to operate, and workers can simultaneously be protected, but only if industry executives and plant leadership are required to follow all health officials’ recommendations.”
The letters follow the ACLU’s May 6 launch of a petition calling for increased protection of meatpacking plant workers. More than 1,200 community members have signed the petition.