Nebraskans have been sickened and lost loved ones by COVID-19. Workers designated as essential are at the highest risk for infection. Employees preparing beef, poultry and pork work in meatpacking plants with unsafe conditions. Unmasked employees, some ill, work side by side in crowded areas. Sick leave is not allowed as they are essential to Nebraska’s meat industry and these workers can’t afford to quit.
I was raised with the Golden Rule. Treat other people the way you want to be treated. Another way to follow it is when you see people being treated in a manner you would not want to be treated, then speak up, do something about it.
The Nebraska Legislature has three bills proposed to ensure better conditions for essential workers. LB241 — Meatpacking Employees COVID Protection Act — provides equipment and protocols for a safe work environment during COVID-19. LB258 — Healthy and Safe Families and Workplace Act — allows workers to earn and use sick leave. LB441 — Provision Changes to Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act — covers expenses incurred due to COVID-19 for designated essential workers in health care, corrections, emergency services, education, child care, meatpacking, trucking and postal services.
Please contact your state senator and the Nebraska Unicameral’s Business and Labor Committee by Feb. 25 to let them know you support these bills. Let’s ensure Nebraska workers have the protections needed to provide healthy foods and essential services to us. It’s how we would want to be treated, if we had their jobs.