Lawmakers Address Safety for Warehouse, Meatpacking Workers
Friday, January 6, 2023 | 0
Minnesota lawmakers on Wednesday introduced two bills that would address workplace safety issues for warehouse and meatpacking industry workers.
HF 36 would address quotas for those working in warehouses for merchandise and mail-order houses, requiring employers to provide any work expectations, such as work-speed requirements, in writing to employees and that restroom breaks shall be considered when crafting such quotas.
The bill states that if a work site or employer is found to have an employee incidence rate 30% or higher than that year’s average incidence rate for similar nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in that industry, the state would open an investigation of violations.
HF 23 would address work safety for those in the meatpacking industry, calling on the state labor commissioner to appoint a worker rights coordinator in the Department of Labor and Industry and provide the coordinator with necessary office space, furniture, equipment, supplies and assistance.
The bill also states that “a meat-processing worker has a right to refuse to work under conditions that the worker reasonably believes would expose the worker, other workers, or the public … (to) unreasonable risk of illness or injury, or exposure to illness or injury, including the infectious disease known as COVID-19.”
The bill would also prohibit employers from retaliating against such employees, who would be eligible for unemployment.
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