As Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tries to connect more with his Latino support, he sent a message to essential workers, especially those working in meat processing plants. He said, “We owe you” and emphasized that they deserve protective equipment, additional pay, and priority for coronavirus tests.
Biden was seen sharing the screen time with the corona positive children of meat processing plant workers. This virtual town hall was conducted by the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC.
Biden commented after the young Latinos told their stories, “These stories are heart-wrenching. There’s nothing worse than worrying about a family member, whether they’re going to make it or not. It’s not a whole lot worse than ending up in the morning, and knowing your son or daughter is in a war zone.”
President Donald Trump, through the Defense Production Act, compelled meat processing facilities to remain open and to keep their shelves stocked with meat, despite the coronavirus pandemic and deaths of plant workers. He reassured the companies of protection from liability, and his administration said it would work with the Labor Department to keep workers safe.
Some plants have temporarily closed following the deaths of workers. Workers complained of being given no protection in the facilities, which require shoulder-to-shoulder work, and of having no sick leave and of not getting coronavirus related information in languages other than English. Unions and advocacy groups have been demanding better protections for workers as the number of cases steadily increases.
Edgar Ramirez, said his father, Edgardo, who worked at a meatpacking plant in Iowa, is on a ventilator in a life and death situation. According to LULAC, his father developed symptoms but thought they were due to allergies.
His employers were only taking temperatures and had not completely implemented guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, LULAC said.