Virus Outbreak Meat Plant Protest

FILE - In this April 8, 2020, file photo, a truck bearing Weld County insignia sits outside the administrative office entrance at JBS USA in Greeley, Colo. A union representing workers at a JBS USA meatpacking plant in Colorado where six workers have died of the coronavirus and hundreds more were infected is protesting a $15,615 fine against the company for failing to provide safe working conditions at the plant in Greeley. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union says JBS failed to protect workers from getting sick and didn't compensate them for working under the risk of contracting COVID-19. (Alex McIntyre/The Greeley Tribune via AP, File)

DENVER (AP) — A union representing workers at a Colorado meatpacking plant where six workers died of COVID-19 and hundreds more were infected staged a protest Wednesday, claiming that federal officials should have fined the company more for its alleged failure to provide safe working conditions.

The JBS USA-owned plant in Greeley was issued a $15,615 fine on Sept. 11 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union called the fine for the multi-billion dollar company “insulting” and “ineffectual,” but JBS says it’s unwarranted. The union’s Local 7, which represents about 3,000 workers at the plant, asked co-workers and relatives of those who died and were infected to protest outside OSHA’s Denver offices.

“After seven deaths and seven months they issued a lousy, measly $15,000 fine,” local president Kim Cordova declared to several dozen demonstrators, some holding signs that read “Shame on OSHA” and “Life is cheap for JBS.”

“Fifteen thousand dollars is not going to stop them or force them to be a better and more responsible employer,” Cordova said.

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