Bill would add protections for meatpacking workers, target industry’s monopolistic practices

A bill introduced in the Senate this week would improve working conditions and whistleblower protections for meatpacking workers while also cracking down on monopolistic practices in the industry. Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, introduced the Protecting America’s Meatpacking Workers Act on Tuesday. In a press release, he called it a “critical piece in transforming our food system into one that is rooted in resilience, fairness, and justice.” (No paywall)

Covid-19 cases, deaths among meatpacking workers three times worse than thought

Five large meatpackers fell staggeringly short of their duty to protect their workers during the pandemic, with at least 269 deaths and at least 59,000 infections from Covid-19 among their employees — roughly three times more than thought — said Rep. James Clyburn, chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Wednesday. (No paywall)

Labor Department starts work on heat safety rule

Following what the White House called "a dangerously hot summer," Labor Secretary Marty Walsh announced on Monday the first step toward a federal standard to protect workers from exposure to excessive heat on the job. The work on a heat safety rule would be part of a government-wide initiative to lessen the impact of hotter weather, a feature of climate change.

After months of waiting, labor advocates disappointed new OSHA rule excludes food system workers

After months of delay, the Biden administration on Thursday released a rule dictating how employers in the healthcare sector should protect workers from the spread of Covid-19. The exclusion of meatpacking, food processing, farm, and grocery retail workers from the new workplace standards sparked an outcry from worker advocacy groups and unions.(No paywall)

Biden delay on new workplace Covid-19 standards concerns food worker advocates

In the early days of his administration, President Biden directed the nation’s workplace safety regulator to explore enforceable Covid-19 standards to better protect workers from the threat of the coronavirus. But months later, the new standards have not been issued, worrying advocates concerned about the health of vulnerable workers.

House committee to investigate meatpacking plant outbreaks

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis launched an investigation Monday into the spread of Covid-19 at meatpacking plants during the course of the pandemic. The committee sent letters to the country's top meatpackers — JBS, Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods — as well as to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requesting scores of information on the entities' management of the spread of the virus among meatpacking workers, with a response deadline of Feb. 15.(No paywall)

OSHA strengthens workplace guidelines against Covid-19

The Labor Department, in issuing stronger worker-safety guidelines  called on employers to conduct a hazard analysis and implement measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus on the job. The recommendations include the use of face masks and reconfiguring work spaces so workers are at least six feet apart.

With new Covid plan, Biden calls for OSHA to update workplace safety protections

The nation's top workplace safety enforcer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, will explore issuing enforceable workplace safety standards to protect workers from the spread of Covid-19 as part of President Joe Biden's new pandemic strategy. Labor advocates and congressional Democrats have pushed for enforceable standards for the duration of the pandemic, arguing that the existing voluntary guidelines for employers don't go far enough to protect workers.

First 100 days: Advocates say Biden should act quickly to boost workplace safety

As a candidate, President-elect Joe Biden ripped into the Trump administration’s handling of workplace inspections during the Covid-19 pandemic. And he endorsed a range of policies that would aid food system workers, from raising raising frontline worker wages to  releasing enforceable workplace standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Now, within his first 100 days in office, Biden should make good on his promises, workplace advocates say. (No paywall)

Biden: U.S. will consider emergency rule to protect workers from coronavirus

The government's worker-safety agency "has been prevented from using its full range of tools to protect workers from Covid-19," said President-elect Biden on the 50th anniversary of creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. "The number of OSHA inspectors is at its lowest level since 1975, while millions of essential workers are working to keep the country functioning through the pandemic."