Report concludes pandemic was harder on meatpacking, food production workers – Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska 2022-08-06 14:49:37 –

LINCOLN, Nebraska — The COVID-19 pandemic is actually harder for workers in meat processing plants, grocery stores and other critical industries than the population as a whole, according to a study Friday by the Food Workers Union and the University of Nebraska. was.

A one-year study conducted by the National Federation of Food and Commercial Workers in collaboration with the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that such workers were significantly more likely to be hospitalized than other workers.

The union president called on lawmakers and President Joe Biden to better manage the impact of the pandemic and take “bolder steps” to protect such workers from future pandemics.

“This UNMC investigation makes clear that COVID-19 has had and continues to have a profound and significant impact on essential workers in America,” said Marc Perrone, President of UFCW International. says.

Key findings include:

  • UFCW members who reported a COVID infection before May 2021 were twice as likely to be reinfected in the past year.
  • Fifty-nine percent of people with COVID say they believe they likely contracted the virus at work.
  • Of respondents who contracted COVID, 6% required hospitalization, compared to 2% nationally.
  • 4% of COVID-infected workers reported being unable to return to work afterward.
  • In May, half of respondents reported that the impact of COVID-19 remained severe.

“These essential workers paid a heavy price to keep their jobs,” said Perrone.

“They deserve immediate action,” he said.

UFCW represents 1.3 million workers in grocers, meat processing plants and other food-related industries.

Unions have called for several measures, including providing sick leave so workers don’t fear losing their jobs if they become infected, and taking action against the federal Meat Worker Safety Act.

Nearly 20,000 union members were surveyed for this report. Click here for an overview.

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