Workers Rally Over COVID in Washington State

May 27, 2020
Workers from farms and food processing facilities staged a brief demonstration in the state capital of Washington.

Workers from farms and food processing facilities staged a brief demonstration in the state capital of Washington, asking for safer working conditions.

A few dozen employees rallied at the capitol in Olympia on May 26 to present Gov. Jay Inslee with a letter asking for help with worker protection. Many of them were from Yakima County, where agriculture and food processing are major businesses, and some of them have gone on strike over issues related to safety in the pandemic. Yakima County has Washington’s highest rate of COVID-19 infections.

The demonstrators told KOMO-TV that safety conditions have improved at some plants, but said this only happened after strikes.

“There is still a lot more to go in meeting their other needs of hazard pay and no retaliation for taking part in strikes like this,” Edgar Franks, who works with Families United for Justice, told KOMO.

The governor’s office is currently updating guidelines on reopening the state. The previous plan had been to open up Washington by June 1 once certain criteria regarding infection rates had been met, but none of the state’s largest counties currently meet that criteria.

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