COVID-19 Impacts Raymundo’s Workers and the Company Fails to Act
For Immediate Release
Des Plaines, IL – Today, Friday April 3, workers from Raymundo’s Food Group, in Bedford Park, IL, refused to work after learning that a coworker had tested positive for COVID-19. Workers also reported that the Company has a history of forcing workers to remain on the job while sick. With additional coworkers also exhibiting Coronavirus symptoms, Raymundo’s workers no longer feel safe and are compelled to inform the public about this dangerous situation. The workers report that the Company knew the worker was infected, but did nothing. Despite publicly available guidelines, CDC recommendations, and health officials’ insistence on the importance of social distancing, the Company has yet to implement meaningful social distancing policies and protect its workers.
In November 2019, the Raymundo’s workers held an election and voted to Unionize. In response, the Company appealed the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision to certify Local 881 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and has unlawfully refused to bargain.
As the certified representative of the workers at Raymundo’s, Local 881 UFCW demands that Raymundo’s immediately shut down and hire a professional cleaning organization to fully sanitize its facility. In addition, the Company should provide the workers with paid sick leave and extended family medical leave benefits. The Company’s failure to implement the most basic safety precautions and lack of communication with its employees is unacceptable.
“We learned that a coworker was infected with COVID-19. The Company told us later and in a very disrespectful way. When we asked to disinfect the facility, management insulted us. All of this is unfair, we want to work in a safe environment.” said Juan, a Raymundo’s worker.
“What we want is for Raymundo’s to disinfect the facility and be transparent as to what steps it has taken to protect us. Is it a lot to ask for a safe work place?” said Itzel, a Raymundo’s worker.
“We want Raymundo’s to communicate in a professional way with its employees. As soon as the Company learned about the infection it should have notified us. I am pregnant, and they don’t give a damn if they put my health and my baby’s health at risk!” said Susana, a Raymundo’s worker.
The Raymundo’s employees are deemed essential workers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, on Thursday, Local 881 UFCW demanded Raymundo’s give workers hazard pay of an extra $2 per hour and provide a safe environment for its workers during this pandemic and into the future. The Company has failed to act.
“It is a disgrace and shameful to keep workers in the dark when it comes to their health and safety. We demand Raymundo’s shut down their facility and take responsible action by sanitizing the entire facility and provide paid sick leave for workers that cannot work due to COVID-19.” said Local 881 President Steve Powell. “We stand with Raymundo’s essential workers in their fight to work with respect, dignity, and above all safety!”