Voces de la Frontera continues their fight for fair working conditions
MILWAUKEE, WI (CBS 58) – The fight for fair wages and working conditions continues as Voces de la Frontera brings awareness to the work they’ve been doing in the Milwaukee area and across the state.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the organization has been working with essential workers, many of whom work in food processing plants.
“Our first effort to support workers has come disproportionately from the food industry, the meat packing industry in particular,” says Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera.
The organization has been working at a grass roots level across the state during the pandemic to help with COVID hot spots in the work place.
“We have been working on the ground with essential workers and their families to deal with issues around workplace protections, but also access to testing as well as effective contact tracing,” says Neumann-Ortiz.
Some essential workers like Karina Sanchez came across a number of issues when looking for answers like language barriers and access to testing.
“It’s very clear that social security, state IDs should not be required for access to testing,” says Neumann-Ortiz. “Money and insurance should not be barriers to testing as well as language or technology. These are things that are still barriers and still need to be urgently addressed.”
It’s testimonies like these that have taken Voces de la Frontera to various food processing plants, demanding change.
“There are some spots that have been harder to address like the issues around paid sick leave, which continues to have loopholes for corporations which aren’t obligated to pay for it,” says Neumann-Ortiz. “People are going to work sick because they have to work to feed their families.”
One of their most recent victories was in Franklin at the Strauss meat factory in August, where 28 workers divided a cash settlement of $264,000.
“The community effort because of the weakness of the laws has been fundamental,” says Neumann-Ortiz. “Leadership of the workers and their families with the community support, with elected officials, is critical. Having public health experts speaking out is also very critical.”
Voces de la Frontera says they’ll continue their work and urge people who are faced with tough situations in the work place to contact them.