Rally planned after 2 workers at Pasco food plant die of COVID-19
PASCO, Wash. — Two employees at the Twin City Foods plant in Pasco have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to a local union.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1439, which represents food workers across the Inland Northwest, criticized Twin City Foods, releasing a statement Friday that says workers were originally discouraged from wearing masks at the plant, and that those who’ve gotten sick from COVID-19 were not given any additional paid sick leave.
A rally is planned for Friday at 3:30 p.m. outside the Pasco plant located at 5405 Industrial Way to “highlight the growing crisis at Twin City Foods packaging facility in Pasco,” the union’s statement says. “Workers are concerned that the company’s ineffectual response to COVID-19 puts the whole community at risk.”
Approximately 200 workers at the Pasco plant have filed for a union election with UFCW 1439. The union is currently waiting for the National Labor Relations Board to assign an election date.
“The company doesn’t understand that even though we work with machines, we’re human beings,” says Octavio Zamudio, a machine operator. “We need a union because it’s the only way to protect ourselves and our families. We deserve the same protections and benefits as other essential employees like hazard pay, affordable healthcare, and quarantine pay.”
West Richland City Councilmember Kate Moran voiced support for the rally, saying that because workers in the processing industry keep food on our tables, “the least we can do is make sure that they have protections and a voice at work so that their families can survive and thrive.”
KAPP-KVEW reached out to Twin City Foods for comment.
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