Assembly Speaker Vos, Briggs and Stratton, Echo Lake Foods Scapegoat and Delay while Workers Die of COVID-19

For details on the Workers’ Safety press conference please see: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qn6HziZF7TXLxkxPCkMSAoOZwTDzEurHauW9nf5dJMc/edit

WHAT: Car caravan/protest, press conference and wreath-laying in Burlington (Racine County) to honor workers who died of COVID-19 in the workplace. Followed by wreath-laying at home of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who has scapegoated immigrants and refused to enact state legislation to protect all workers and their families from COVID-19.

WHY: Burlington is home to both Echo Lake Foods and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. Echo Lake Foods maintains unsafe working conditions and forces employees to work sick by denying paid sick days to workers who are positive with COVID-19 or have been exposed. Juan Manuel Reyes Valdez, who died of COVID-19 on June 3, worked there. Assembly Speaker Vos, who blamed COVID outbreaks in his district on ‘immigrant culture,’ has kept the Wisconsin Legislature from enacting stricter safety requirements and meaningful sick leave policies during the pandemic. 

Echo Lake and Briggs and Stratton are among many employers nationwide that assign disciplinary points against workers who see a doctor; refuse to fully implement CDC/OSHA safety conditions; provide inadequate sick leave; and keep employees in the dark about workplace exposure to COVID-19. 

Speakers will call on these large corporations to immediately implement stronger protective measures before other lives are lost and demand state legislation to compel all employers to follow CDC/OSHA safe workplace requirements and provide paid sick leave without discipline. Also, Speaker Vos must apologize for his racist statement,  resign his leadership position and support state legislation to protect the lives of workers and their families throughout Wisconsin.

WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, June 18, 2020, noon press conference in Echo Veterans Memorial Park, 600 Milwaukee Avenue, Burlington WI (just north of Veterans’ Terrace).  Preceded by a car caravan from Racine Labor Center (departing at 11am from 2100 Layard Ave., Racine) to press conference; followed by a car caravan to Vos’ house.

WHO: Sponsored by Milwaukee-based Voces de la Frontera, the state’s largest immigrant rights organization. Over the past two months Voces has highlighted unsafe conditions and inadequate sick leave at meatpacking, manufacturing and food processing companies in Wisconsin. Speakers will include family and co-workers of Michael Jackson, a Briggs and Stratton worker who died recently from COVID-19; testimony from an Echo Lake Foods employee; details of derailed state legislation on safety and sick leave; and demands from Voces de la Frontera and 9to5, the National Association of Working Women.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Jack Norman, communications@vdlf.org, 414.405.6210.