Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.
Following a comprehensive complaint filed by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 770, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has issued its largest coronavirus-related citation in the state, fining food processing company Overhill Farms and its staffing agency more than $200,000 for serious health and safety violations. “It should not be so dangerous to go to work every day. I commend the leadership of the workers at Overhill for speaking up in the face of atrocious safety violations at the plant and for creating an innovative safety committee at Overhill. Without their leadership, even more workers would be sick,” said John Grant, president of Local 770. “Now the state of California has weighed in with meaningful citations that show just how dangerous the working conditions were.” One worker at Overhill died from COVID-19 in April, and more than 1,100 members of Local 770 have tested positive for the virus. Cal/OSHA specifically cited Overhill because its employees have been unable to maintain physical distance at several points at the jobsite.