Workers in the farm and meatpacking sector were one of the most severely devastated by the pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. But a stimulus check could be coming their way soon as the US Dept. of Agriculture has decided to grant them $600 from a $700M aid package.
The COVID-19 virus had severely affected meatpacking and farm workers where they need to work closely together. United Food and Commercial Workers Union representing 80% of the nation’s pork and beef industry and a third of the poultry workers say that around 132 workers engaged in meatpacking died of the virus and around 22,000 employees were exposed or affected.
President of UFCW, Marc Perrone, said that the meatpacking units suffered some of the deadliest attacks in the first phase of the pandemic and every worker deserved gratitude and support.
Grocery store workers will also get a tiny portion of the stimulus check package as a pilot project. The aid to grocery workers is around $20M.
Stimulus Check To Help Compensate For Expenses Incurred For Protective Equipment
The workers endured both physical and financial risk as they paid out of their pocket for protective equipment. Officials hope that the grant will defray some expenses incurred by the workers buying protective equipment and the losses due to unpaid leave as the virus tore through these industries.
These brave workers deserve the stimulus check more than any other as they ensured that people had food on their table when every sector was totally shut down.
Other than the $600 stimulus check to these workers, the USDA will also announce other stimulus checks under the $700M package for farmers’ markets, food processors, and food vendors, and distributors affected by the pandemic. At the height of the pandemic, the output from the meat and chicken industry fell to around 60% of normal levels as many plants were shut down due to sanitation processes and workers were without work during this period.