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More than 120 meatpacking plan workers hold tense meeting with Columbus Junction Mayor

Workers protest at Columbus Junction City Council Meeting
Workers protest at Columbus Junction City Council Meeting(KCRG)
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 2:47 PM CST
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COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa (KCRG) - Over 120 meatpacking plan workers met with Columbus Junction Mayor Mark Huston and City Clerk Julie Heindel on Monday to demand hazard pay and stimulus checks for front-line workers that continue to risk their lives to keep the economy going during the pandemic.

Workers at the meeting told personal stories about working, getting sick, and watching their family die from COVID-19 without protection or support at work.

“We worked through the pandemic to support you, now we are here to ask you to support us,” Alfredo Ayala told the city officials. Ayala has worked at the local meatpacking plant in Columbus Junction for the last 32 years.

The council was asked to use the second half of their American Rescue Plan allotment as seed money towards a fund that would send direct payments to workers.

“I haven’t had time to review these demands,” Mayor Huston responded. “I’m only one person, these decisions are made by the entire council and there are five of us.”

Columbus Junction’s essential workforce was one of the hardest-hit communities by Covid-19 anywhere in the country

Mayor Huston agreed to a follow-up meeting before departing.

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