Protecting Essential Food Supply Workers
This is the first of these emails that you’ve received from me. I joined Towards Justice almost a year ago, and I’m so grateful for the chance to be a part of this team fighting for workers during this deeply challenging time.
Yesterday, Towards Justice, in collaboration with Public Justice, supported a courageous worker and the workers organizing group, Rural Community Workers Alliance in Missouri to file a lawsuit against Smithfield Foods demanding that the company begin complying with federal and state public health guidance and orders if it wants to continue operating. The lawsuit is the first in the nation filed by workers seeking injunctive relief against their employers to obtain safe workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, for the sake of themselves, their families, and their broader community. To learn more you can read the complaint and motion for preliminary injunction here.
This morning, the New York Times reported on this important lawsuit and told the story of our courageous clients. Read the article here.
In normal times, workers would depend on the federal government to enforce workplace safety and health standards, but that isn’t happening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day that goes by more and more workers and their family members get sick and even die from this horrible disease, and the burden has fallen disproportionately on low-wage workers, immigrants, and people of color.
It is thus essential to the health and safety of all of us that workers stand up to their employers through the civil justice system. We are proud to represent workers who are standing up to their employers and demanding safe workplace conditions. All of us will be safer for it.
Over the coming weeks, Towards Justice will continue to support workers in challenging unsafe workplace conditions, with a particular focus on the workplaces in the food supply chain that are doing so little to protect their workers.
Thank you for your support of our work and the workers we represent.
Towards Justice Director of Litigation