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Wed Oct 21, 2020, 11:08 AM


Trump’s attack on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has left workers vulnerable to Covid-19.

Sharon Lerner

October 20 2020, 8:55 a.m.

THE CORONAVIRUS HAD already begun tearing through the JBS Foods beef processing plant in Greeley, Colorado, when Kim Cordova wrote to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in late March. Cordova, the president of UFCW Local 7, asked the federal agency to send inspectors to that plant, where 3,000 members of the union work, as well as to five other businesses where members of the local work. Many of the JBS workers, who cut, process, and package the meat from the newly slaughtered animals, had begun to fall sick with Covid-19. Yet JBS hadn’t provided the workers with masks and in some cases had advised specifically against wearing them, according to Cordova. The workers didn’t have enough room to distance themselves from their co-workers in the cafeteria, the locker rooms, or elsewhere around the plant. Although Cordova had been in direct communication with the management at JBS about the health hazards at the plant, the largest of its kind in the country, talks had recently hit a wall.

A few days later, Cordova received a call from OSHA letting her know that help was not on the way. “He said they didn’t have the staff and they weren’t doing any on-site visits. They just didn’t have any direction,” she recalled. “And I told them, people are going to die in this facility.”

Cordova’s prediction proved true on April 7, when Saul Sanchez, a 78-year-old production worker became the first worker at JBS Greeley to die of Covid-19. Eventually five of his co-workers — Eduardo Conchas De La Cruz, Way Ler, Daniel Avila Loma, Tibursio Rivera Lopez, and Tin Aye — also died of the disease, as well as a seventh employee, whom JBS identified as “one of our corporate colleagues.” So far, at least 292 workers at the plant have been infected with the virus, and 51 workers have been hospitalized with Covid-19. Cordova said she knows of at least three family members of JBS Greeley workers who also died as a result of the outbreak.

On May 14, OSHA finally sent an inspector to the beef plant. But according to Cordova, the visit was brief. “They did a quick walk-through, more like a run-through,” she said. Although the union suggested that OSHA interview workers who had been sick with Covid-19, the inspectors declined to do so. “I understand that you can’t talk to the workers who are dead,” Cordova said. “But what about the ones who almost died?” And while the local offered interpreters so the inspectors could communicate with the workers, who speak dozens of languages, Cordova said the OSHA representatives declined.


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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
BeckyDem Oct 21 OP
mahatmakanejeeves Oct 21 #1
BeckyDem Oct 21 #2
appalachiablue Oct 22 #3
mahatmakanejeeves Oct 23 #4
mahatmakanejeeves Oct 23 #5
BeckyDem Oct 23 #6

Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 12:34 PM

1. Eugene Scalia blast from the past:

Washington Post, Wednesday, October 3, 2001, page A2

Scalia Defends Views On Workplace Safety

Eugene Scalia, President Bush's nominee as the Labor Department's top lawyer, defended his opposition to workplace safety regulations at a Senate confirmation hearing yesterday.

"For a lawyer to shade or slant his legal advice to advance a private agenda is among the gravest betrayals of his solemn duty as an attorney," said Scalia, a Washintton labor lawyer and son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Democrats on the Health, Educaion, Labor and Pensions Committee appeared to be solidly against Scalia, who had criticized ergonomics and Clinton-era regulations as "quackery" and "junk science."

The vote that will probably determine whether Democrats can block Scalia's nomination from the Senate floor is that of Sen. James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.). A spokesman said Jeffords supports Scalia's nomination.

Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said Scalia's "views are outside the mainstream on many issues of vital importance to the nation's workers and their families."

Scalia said he thinks ergonomics-related injuries do exist, and that his criticism was aimed at the specific regulation, which he thought went too far. He said scientific evidence supporting it did not satisfy the Supreme Court's legal "junk science" test.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 04:09 PM

2. OMG. If left up to Republicans, they will destroy us all!

Thanks for posting this reminder.

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Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 02:42 AM

3. K/R

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Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Fri Oct 23, 2020, 03:04 PM

4. USDOL responds

Check out the
response to an error-riddled article about the Department. https://blog.dol.gov/2020/10/23/setting-the-story-straight

More Facts from

Setting the Story Straight
Filed in Safety and Health • By: Bob Bozzuto • October 23, 2020 •

This week the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Office of Public Affairs Bob Bozzuto submitted a letter for the Department following an article about Secretary of Labor Scalia and the efforts of the Department that was published by The New Yorker Magazine on Monday, October 19. Despite having published a 7,000-word, error-ridden article about Secretary Scalia and the Department, the editors did not respond to multiple requests to have the short letter published as a response. Assistant Secretary Bozzuto’s letter is below.


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Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Fri Oct 23, 2020, 03:11 PM

5. "They're telling employers: 'Don't worry. We're not going to make you do anything.'"

David Michaels Retweeted

“They’re telling employers: ‘Don’t worry. We’re not going to make you do anything.’”

after #OSHA issues low penalties meatpacking plants & allows employers to stop reporting COVID-related hospitalizations.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #5)

Fri Oct 23, 2020, 04:29 PM

6. Just go ahead and die, that is their message, while they make money. UGH

Thanks again for the info!

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