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Meat packers and processors celebrate frontline worker pay

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Around 100 people gathered at the United Food Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 663 labor union building on Wednesday to celebrate the passing of frontline worker pay bill.

“This money, this $750 was not a gift. We won it because workers fought. You won it,” said Rena Wong, UFCW Local 663 director of organizing.

UFCW Local 663 has 17,000 members in Minnesota, and 3,300 in Austin.

Rally attendees included meat packagers and food processing plant workers from companies like Hormel Foods, Quality Pork Processors (QPP), Seneca Foods and JBS Pork.

“We have to get up and work, work hard for our families,” said Carla Ortiz, a QPP worker.

“It just kinda comes down to, this is what we’re owed,” said Zac Queandt, a Seneca Foods representative.

“$750 is really significant for some folks, it’s as much as two weeks paycheck,” Wong said. “Through this pandemic even from the beginning when nobody knew what was happening they showed up every day. They did their duty, and many of them got sick and they brought it home to their families and now finally giving them $750 is just a recognition of that work and that sacrifice.”

The list of all professions eligible for frontline worker pay includes:

  • long-term care and home care
  • health care
  • emergency responders
  • public health, social service, and regulatory service
  • courts and corrections
  • child care
  • schools, including charter schools, state schools, and higher education
  • food service, including production, processing, preparation, sale, and delivery
  • retail, including sales, fulfillment, distribution, and delivery
  • temporary shelters and hotels
  • building services, including maintenance, janitorial, and security
  • public transit
  • ground and air transportation services
  • manufacturing
  • vocational rehabilitation.

Eligible workers will have 45 days to fill out an application. If approved checks could come within 10-12 weeks.

For more information on the Frontline Worker pay click here.

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