WASHINGTON, May 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from Teamsters Dairy and Food Processing Division Director Rome Aloise regarding the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement that it will be suspending limits on the H2-B visa program and permitting companies in the U.S. food supply chain to hire or extend the stay of temporary workers:
"At a time when Americans all across the country are realizing just how indispensable their fellow citizens in the food supply chain are to the foundation of our entire way of life, DHS has chosen to put those exact same people in the crosshairs of a deadly pandemic. The agency has made it easier for companies in the food supply chain to get around the safety measures required at union workplaces at a time when COVID-19 transmissions are growing explosively in this industry.
"There has been no significant action taken to protect these essential service workers from COVID-19 transmission, so labor unions and existing federal laws are the only protections that these men and women have. Guest workers who are unfamiliar with these protections or rights are especially vulnerable to retaliation if they seek a safer workplace. Expanding the food supply chain to include more workers who are going to be threatened for trying to protect themselves on the job without addressing the underlying issue of unsafe working conditions will cause more guest workers, American workers and consumers to possibly die because of this pandemic."
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.