Ohio food worker unions want better protections from state

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Ohio food processing plant and grocery worker unions want Gov. Mike DeWine to take action to better protect food workers from coronavirus. 

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75, 880 and 1059 sent letters to the governor asking him to slow line speeds at food processing plants, cap grocery store capacity at 20% and mandate that people wear face masks while at work or at essential stores.

The unions also asked DeWine to issue other guidance on safety standards to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Workers in grocery stores, pharmacies and food production plants are risking everything to ensure our communities can endure this crisis,” the union leaders said in a joint statement, released April 16. 

“If we don’t act immediately to keep these essential workers and their customers safe, many lives and our food supply will be in grave danger.”

Slowing line speeds at processing plants will ensure that workers can stay a safe distance from each other, as will lowering store capacity.

The three unions represent more than 80,000 workers in Ohio.

Pennsylvania’s Health Secretary Rachel Levine signed an order April 15 providing safety measures to protect people working at essential in-person businesses, including requiring customers to wear face masks in stores and limiting occupancy to no more than 50% capacity.

The order also established protocols for businesses like staggering shifts and break times, providing masks for employees to wear and extra cleaning and disinfection at high-touch areas.

The health order in Pennsylvania will take effect at 8 p.m. April 19.


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Rachel is a reporter with Farm and Dairy and a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She married a fourth-generation farmer and settled down in her hometown in Beaver County, where she co-manages the family farm raising beef cattle and sheep with her husband and in-laws. Before coming to Farm and Dairy, she worked at several daily and weekly newspapers throughout Western Pennsylvania covering everything from education and community news to police and courts. She can be reached at rachel@farmanddairy.com or 724-201-1544.



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