x

Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Local poultry workers march for human rights during COVID-19 in Springdale

A march is being held for the human rights of poultry workers during COVID-19 in downtown Springdale.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — A march is was held for the human rights of poultry workers during COVID-19 in downtown Springdale this evening. 

The march started at 5:30 p.m. and will be going on until 8:30 p.m.

The event is being hosted by the organization "Venceremos". According to their Facebook page, "Venceremos is a newly formed, worker-based organization in Arkansas whose mission is to ensure the human rights of poultry workers."

The group is fighting for better working conditions during the pandemic. 

Many people marched holding signs that say: "Tyson treats workers worse than the chickens we process" and "Believe the workers".

Organizers provided the following statement on the event page on Facebook.

"Poultry workers are essential workers. By being essential, it means without them our food supply could be in great danger; therefore, their safety and health are crucial during this pandemic.
However, poultry companies insist to see these workers as expendable, and they continue dehumanizing them by forcing them to come to work while sick, they are manipulating workers with bonuses in order to force them to come to work every day; consequently, the situation is getting worst every day for these workers.
Processing plants in Arkansas are the hotspot of COVID19, these companies acted too late in providing protections; Tyson, George's, and other plants in Arkansas didn't provide adequate PPE (many plants are still not providing adequate PPE) until we began doing actions to call them out due to existing positive cases of COVID-19 in the plants. This shows how little they care for their workers. They exposed many workers to continue getting sick, and now they're blaming them for it. Many poultry workers have already died, and many others are being hospitalized.
They've refused to shut down for deep cleaning, and put workers in paid quarantine, and hiding the real number of cases.
As the COVID-19 cases keep growing in Arkansas, it's a duty for all of us to make sure these plants and the State act accordingly to overcome this crisis together. This is not sustainable nor humane. Workers' health is public health.