Thursday, September 23, 2021


States are poised to help resettle Afghan evacuees who fled their home country after the U.S. military exit; efforts emerge to help Native Americans gain more clean energy independence.


Sen. Mitch McConnell refuses to support raising the debt ceiling; Biden administration pledges $500 million of COVID vaccine doses globally; and U.S. military says it's taking steps to combat sexual assault.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Nebraska Lawmakers to Debate Meatpacking Worker Protections


Thursday, May 6, 2021   

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska lawmakers are scheduled to debate the Meatpacking Employees COVID-19 Protection Act today.

Sen. Tony Vargas, D-Omaha, sponsored the measure, which would require companies to implement protections including six-feet social distancing, face masks and paid sick leave.

Rose Godinez, legal and policy counsel for the ACLU of Nebraska, said workers in meat and poultry plants across the state continue to report dangerous conditions, including lack of masks, pressure to work while sick, and crowded cafeterias and locker rooms.

"We're not out of the pandemic yet," Godinez observed. "And we need these protections for meatpacking-plant workers because they are providing essential food production for the country."

At least 7,300 COVID-19 cases have been traced to meatpacking plants across Nebraska since the onset of the global pandemic.

Public health experts said protections continue to be appropriate, even as vaccinations are rolled out. Critics of Legislative Bill 241 argued the law is unnecessary because companies already are taking precautions and have prioritized the safety of their workers throughout the public health emergency.

Godinez countered many workers reported not being able to leave work to get vaccinated, or risk losing their job if they do because of punitive sick-leave policies. The bill would require companies to allow workers time off to get vaccinated.

Godinez believes the measure is necessary to protect not only meatpacking plant workers, but entire communities still at risk of contracting the airborne virus.

"It will be up to all of us to protect our hardworking friends and meatpacking-plant workers," Godinez asserted.

Legislative Bill 241 would remain in effect until June 2022, or until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drops its recommended protections.

Plants would be subject to inspections, and could face fines of $5,000 per violation, up to $50,000 for repeated violations.

Disclosure: ACLU of Nebraska contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Criminal Justice, Immigrant Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
The Bridger-Teton National Forest occupies the traditional lands of the Shoshone-Bannock, Eastern Shoshone and Cheyenne people. (Adobe Stock)


CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- A federal court agreed with conservationists this week, ordering winter feeding of elk on the Bridger-Teton National Forest …

Social Issues

FARGO, N.D. -- In the near future, North Dakota is poised to help resettle 49 Afghan evacuees who fled their home country after the U.S. military …


MCCALL, Idaho -- After the rejection of a developer's proposed land swap near Payette Lake, a coalition of groups wants the state to do the opposite…

Beginning in 2022, Nebraska's Department of Education will begin offering farm-to-school producer training in various regions of the state. (Adobe Stock)


GERING, Neb. -- With school back in session, many Nebraska students will be fueled by fresh beef, fruits and vegetables sourced from local farms…

Social Issues

By Abaki Beck for Yes!Media.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …

Over the past 30 years, nutrient and sediment pollution has been reduced by half in Chesapeake Bay, but more needs to be done to meet federal cleanup goals for the watershed. (Adobe Stock)


ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Farm bureaus and agricultural leaders of Chesapeake Bay watershed states are pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund a …

Social Issues

PHOENIX - They are irritating, they are unwanted - and now, robocalls are illegal. Consumer watchdog groups hope a looming deadline will finally …


HARRISBURG, Pa. - Some environmental groups are formally requesting that Pennsylvania's Environmental Quality Board raise the bond amounts companies …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021