Filipinos facing discrimination after Alberta meat processing plant outbreak – union
RED DEER, Alberta – Filipino workers are unfairly being blamed for Covid-19 transmission at pork processing plant, the union representing Olymel workers complained.
The Olymel meat processing plant announced a temporary closure of its hog slaughtering, cutting and deboning operation in Red Deer last week, after Darwin Doloque, a Filipino worker, died from Covid infection.
The United Food and Commercial Workers said it is saddened that ethnic groups like Filipinos always get blamed for outbreaks of the virus.
“Our position is Covid needs to be understood as an occupational disease,” Thomas Hesse, president of Local 401 with the United Food and Commercial Workers, was quoted by the Red Deer Advocate.
The union said when the company hired new workers to raise production to 10,000 hogs a day from 7,000, it should have made sure new workers were familiar with all the safety protocols and were monitored appropriately.
“You don’t go and blame the workers for the workplace not being safe. That’s not their responsibility,” Hesse said.
An alleged potluck among workers is being pointed to as a source of Covid spread in the plant. The company is said to be investigating the rumor of a birthday party at a break room.
Due to the outbreaks there has been a tendency to blame the local Filipino community for the transmission of the virus.