Latin American rights group impressed with Smithfield worker safety improvements


Latin American rights group impressed with Smithfield worker safety improvements

A Latin American human rights group gives high marks to Smithfield for steps the meat packer has taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus in its packing plants. Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) says a tour of Smithfield’s Clinton, North Carolina plant showed improvements in protecting workers from exposure to COVID-19. Garcia tells Brownfield Smithfield workers’ temperatures are taken as they enter the plant, hand sanitizer stations are provided, plexiglass shields separate workers and facemasks are required.

“And the most impressive part was they on-site testing free to any employee who wanted to be tested who felt any of the symptoms of COVID-19,” Garcia told Brownfield Ag News Tuesday.

LULAC communications director David Cruz says the findings from the tour do not mean a free pass for Smithfield.

“It is the start of a relationship where we’re going to continue monitoring, as they are, how this virus moves,” said Cruz, in an interview with Brownfield Ag News, “and what needs to be done within that company and the industry to ensure the safety of essential workers.”

LULAC will work with Smithfield to make sure worker safety comes first, according to Cruz.

“Nourishing a nation is not an easy job, and we’re glad that this company saw the need to make adjustments,” said Cruz, “and we want to stand shoulder to shoulder with them if they’re willing to go forward in that same manner.”

LULAC is pushing for similar improvements among other packing companies.

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