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US meat packing union asks poultry plant to reinstate hazard pay

UFCW, the labour union representing meat plant workers in Indiana, is petitioning Maple Leaf Farms to being back hazard pay.

23 June 2020, at 11:15am

According to reporting by Justin Hicks at WFYI Indianapolis, companies across Indiana are ending the extra pay given to essential workers during the COVID-19 lockdown. However, the UFCW is asking Maple Leaf Farms, a poultry processor to reinstate hazard pay.

Workers at the plant were paid an additional $1.25 per hour until the company announced the end of the initiative on 14 June. In a statement, Maple Leaf Farms said the payment was a “Feeding America” bonus offered to employees during Indiana’s stay-at-home orders.

COVID-19 cases have been steadily increasing in the county where the plant is located. According to Brigid Kelly, a United Food and Commercial Workers union representative, the continued presence of the novel coronavirus means that Maple Leaf Farms and other employers should continue their hazard pay schemes until workplaces return to pre-pandemic conditions.

“We think that our members should continue to receive an additional pay because they’re continuing to take additional risks when they walk in the door to work,” she said.

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