Minnesota Bill Would Give Meatpacking Workers the Right to Refuse to Work Under Unsafe or Unhealthy Conditions

Minnesota House File 23, entitled the “Safe Workplaces for Meat and Poultry Processing Workers Act,” would establish multiple requirements to promote safer work standards and rights for meatpacking employees. Notably, the bill would establish a “meatpacking industry worker rights coordinator” who would have full access to all meatpacking operations in the state and a right for meat-processing workers to refuse to work under conditions that a worker “reasonably believes would expose the worker, other workers, or the public to an unreasonable risk of illness or injury, or exposure to illness or injury, including the infectious disease known as COVID-19.” The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Labor and Industry Finance and Policy.