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.
The Nebraska State AFL-CIO, led by President/Secretary-Treasurer Susan Martin (AFSCME), is standing up for working people in the face of the pandemic. The state federation is throwing its support behind the efforts of State Sen. Tony Vargas to increase protections for the state’s meatpacking workers. More than 7,000 workers in processing plants across the state have contracted the virus, leading to 225 hospitalizations and 27 deaths. The majority of meatpacking workers in Nebraska are Latino and immigrants. Many are refugees. Vargas’ proposal was blocked during the closing days of the 2020 legislative session, but that hasn’t stopped working people from pushing for its passage again this year. There are more than 20,000 meatpacking workers in the state, Martin said. “We’re just asking for basic protection and enforcement. If companies are following these practices, there should be no opposition.”