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Voces de la Frontera leads caravan of cars to home of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, calling for his resignation

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BURLINGTON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A caravan of cars drove through Racine County Thursday, June 18, to raise awareness for essential workers who died from coronavirus.

The caravan made several stops, including Echo Lake Foods and the home of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

Vos recently came under fire for blaming immigrant culture for a coronavirus outbreak in Racine County.

Critics say instead of blaming workers, he should have enacted legislation to protect them.

“His death to COVID-19 was due to the negligence of Echo Lake Company,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the executive director of Voces de la Frontera.

Voces de la Frontera held a press conference Thursday afternoon condemning two local companies.

They say both companies recently had workers die after contracting coronavirus.

Juan Manuel Reyes Valdez worked At Echo Lake Foods.

And loved ones say Michael Jackson, a father of 8, collapsed in May while on the assembly line of his job at Briggs and Stratton.

“The product is the only thing that matters but not the people,” Adebisi Agoro, a cousin of Michael Jackson who said the family is devastated.

“It’s just ridiculous to me that companies are willing to put profit over people when a company can’t exist without the workers."

Speakers at the press conference said a key problem is the failure to provide workers proper safety equipment and paid sick days, especially for those who are living paycheck to paycheck.

“I’ve seen many people like my family struggle to decide do I have to go to work, or what’s more important? My health, or keeping my family sustained,” said Blanca Hernandez from 9-5 Wisconsin.

“They’re not being required at the federal or state level to enforce these basic requirements of masks and physical distancing,” said Neumann-Ortiz.

The press conference was followed by a caravan of cars to Echo Lake Foods and Robin Vos’ home.

Voces de la Frontera is calling on Vos to resign, saying he scapegoated immigrants and refused to enact state legislation to protect workers and their families from COVID-19.

“This is a problem not just affecting immigrants; it’s affecting all working people and their families, and the broader community,” said Neumann-Ortiz. “And he needs to show real leadership and he could start with an apology. I do think he should step down from leadership, and do something constructive to address this problem.”

We did reach out to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ office who said in a statement:

“A large majority of Wisconsin businesses offer health care and retirement benefits. The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act required family and medical leave as well as paid sick leave related to COVID-19. Today was not about worker benefits; it was about politics, which is unfortunate. At a time when everyone is looking for answers, we should be finding ways to work together.”
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