JBS Employees Denied Workers Compensation for COVID Deaths After Gardner & Pence Broke Promise on Tests
Workers benefits denied while a recent report revealed Gardner took major PAC cash from JBS Meatpacking & stayed “conspicuously silent” on their coronavirus outbreak
Denver, CO – A new Reuters report reveals that families of JBS Greeley employees who passed away from COVID were denied workers compensation after Senator Cory Gardner and Vice President Pence broke their promise on testing for employees. This news comes just a week after Business Insider reported that Gardner has taken more corporate PAC money — nearly $25,000 — from JBS meatpacking than nearly any member of Congress this cycle and was “conspicuously silent” on the Greeley plant’s outbreak.
Employees of the plant slammed JBS’ benefit denial as “disgusting” and said that the “claim that the employee’s COVID-19 infections were not work-related is a downright lie” as the plant had a “dangerous ‘work while sick’ culture.” The union criticized Gardner for “bragging” about a broken promise, saying, “it’s time Senator Gardner protects his constituents and not the companies that are putting profits ahead of our people’s lives.”
To no surprise, No Comment Cory has refused to comment on his near-record PAC donations from JBS and the denied workers compensation.
See highlights of the Reuters report below or the full article HERE.
Reuters: Meatpackers deny workers benefits for COVID-19 deaths, illnesses
By Tom Hals, Tom Polansek | September 29, 2020
- JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, denied the family’s application for workers’ compensation benefits, along with those filed by the families of two other Greeley workers who died of COVID-19, said lawyers handling the three claims. Families of the three other Greeley workers who died also sought compensation, a union representative said, but Reuters could not determine the status of their claims.
- The meatpacking industry has suffered severe coronavirus outbreaks, in part because production-line workers often work side-by-side for long shifts. The White House declined to comment on the industry’s rejections of workers’ claims. The U.S. Department of Labor did not respond to a request for comment.
- Although the state does not break down the denials by industry, a JBS spokesman told Reuters the company is rejecting claims in Colorado and that it uses the same claim-review procedures nationwide.
- At the JBS plant in Greeley, where Sanchez worked before he died, at least 291 of about 6,000 workers were infected, according to state data. The company, in its written response to the family’s claim, said that his infection was “not work-related,” without spelling out its reasoning. The two sides are now litigating the matter in Colorado’s workers’ compensation system.
- “They don’t care,” Rangel said of JBS. “They are all about the big profits, and they are not going to give any money out.”
- The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said on Sept. 11 that it had cited JBS for failing to protect workers at the Greeley plant from the virus.
- In Colorado, Sylvia Martinez runs a group called Latinos Unidos of Greeley and said she knows of more than 20 JBS workers who applied for workers compensation and were denied. Many plant workers are not native English speakers and sought out her group for guidance, she said, adding that many don’t understand their rights and fear being fired. The company’s rejections have discouraged more claims, Martinez said.