Thousands of workers across Virginia have been classified as essential and, because of their work, the lives of millions of people can be as normal as possible during theCOVID-19 pandemic. Among these essential workers are hundreds of workers in the poultry industry, from those who catchthese birds on the farms to those who process them inthe plants.
The working conditions of these workers—long hours standing on production lines next to each other in a closed environment—is a petri dish for the coronavirus to be transmitted between workers in a fast and, often, fatal way.
The Virginia poultry industry is on the brink of becoming the next Smithfield in South Dakota, or Tysons in Georgia. We cannot and should not wait for this to happen. The longer we delay, the greater the consequences will be for our communities.
This is why Legal Aid Justice Center has joined forces with Virginia Organizing, Community Solidarity with Poultry Workers, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and the UFCW Local 400, as well as workers and community leaders, to call on ourlocal and state government and poultry processing plants throughout theCommonwealth to take the following measures to protect the lives of these essential poultry workers.
Help for workers
If you are a worker in a chicken / turkey processing plant and need legal advice, contact us at our help line. All our services are free and confidential.
- 434-242-1494 texts, calls and WhatsApp
- 800-269-4717 toll free
If you need help accessing health centers, food or housing, go to our website where we have a list of resources by area:
Act now in support of poultry workers!
Fill out this form below to send an email to Governor Northam, Commissioner Oliver, Attorney General Herring, Commissioner Davenport, and Director Graham.
Put pressure on poultry plants in our state. Call now!
George’s Chicken Harrisonburg 540-433–0720
Tyson Harrisonburg 540-433-0146
Shenandoah Valley Organics Harrisonburg 540-4338400
Perdue Bridgewater 540-828-7700
Pilgrim’s Pride/JBS Timberville 540-896-7000
New Market Poultry 540-740-4260
Virginia Poultry Grower Co-op VPGC Hinton 540-867-4000
Cargill Dayton 540-879-2521
Tyson Temperanceville: 757–824-3471, ask to be connected to Marcus Northway
Perdue Accomac: 757–787-5200, ask to be connected to Human Resources
Hi, my name is_________. I am calling to express my urgent concern about poultry workers’ safety and the safety of the whole community during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am asking that your plant comply with CDC recommendations to:
- Increase physical distancing between people to six feet.
- Everyone should wear masks.
- Implement rules for wash hands frequently and provide an abundance of hand sanitizer.
- Do not share equipment.
- Routine and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and equipment and cleaning and disinfecting facilities after confirmed COVID-19 exposure.
- Encourage routine, staggered breaks, and institute social distancing policies in the break rooms and lunchrooms.
- Emergency sick leave policies. Even if you are exempt from federal laws, we request that you follow the federal act paid sick leave and expand family and medical leave provisions to all workers in your plants
- Employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a family member at their home should notify their supervisor and stay home and follow CDC recommended precautions.
- Sick employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met.