Press Release - Jel-Sert and Covid-19
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cristobal Cavazos
Immigrant Solidarity DuPage
630-510-8500, Ext. 107
JEL-SERT WORKERS DEMAND BETTER PROTECTIVE MEASURES
Tragic Covid-19 Deaths Raise Fears
Wheaton, Illinois (March 3rd, 2021) - Statement from the United Workers Association of Jel-Sert.
The "United Workers Association of Jel-Sert" and Casa DuPage Workers Center are calling attention to the recent Covid-19 related deaths of three workers of Jel-Sert Company in West Chicago, IL. Jel-Sert is a manufacturer of foods and beverages sold to retail consumers and the US military.
The death from Covid-19 of three of our fellow workers strike us with sadness as well as indignation at the lack of thorough cleaning and adequate personal protective equipment.
We are calling for the following measures to be put in place immediately at the factory :
- Closure for deep cleaning with paid leave for the workers
- Upgraded Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Free vaccinations for all workers
- Back pay for workers absent due to Covid-19
- Immediate re-hiring of all workers fired for any Covid-19 related absence
Jel-Sert workers formed the United Workers Association of Jel-Sert in the face of a Covid-19 outbreak among workers in the factory in March 2020. Work was coerced by both Jel-Sert and SEIU Local 1 despite dangerous conditions. Direct worker action, “sickouts” and community pressure led to the temporary closure of the plant in late March for deep cleaning.
Latino workers in essential jobs risk their lives daily and are 2.3 times more likely to contract and die from Covid-19. We ask for the support of the community in our struggle for a safe workplace.
This shouldn't be happening anywhere in the world, much less so in a country that holds itself out as an example to be followed.