Employees from Mauser Packaging Solutions in Newtown hosted a press conference today to demand stronger safety precautions at work after a reported recent outbreak of more than 20 COVID cases.
"We are calling on the company to enact stronger safety standards," said IUE-CWA Local 84729 President Randy King, also a Mauser employee. "Mauser is not doing enough to protect the health and the lives of the workers here. We are also calling on Mauser to implement hazard pay for all who are working during this pandemic. People are putting their lives on the line to keep this company running, and they should be compensated for this.”
In an online petition, workers say, "In one week, 10% of the Mauser facility in Cincinnati has tested positive for Covid-19. Instead of swift and immediate action to protect workers, their families, and their communities; Mauser corporation has been non-responsive and unwilling to address the crisis."
During today's press conference, Congressional candidate Kate Schroder showed up, standing with employees.
Proud to stand in solidarity today with the hardworking members of the @IUE_CWAUnion and @steelworkers as they fight for fair, safe working conditions and pandemic precautions. These frontline heroes deserve to feel safe when they show up to work each day. #UnionStrong pic.twitter.com/KVgGKjnX5t— Kate Schroder (@KateSchroderOH) October 30, 2020
Employee Paul Anderon said in the release, “I have children at home, I am worried for their safety and my own. I have to go to work every day where there are known COVID cases. The company is not doing enough to keep us safe.”
The current safety demands from Mauser employees of the local union IUE-CWA Local 84729 are:
- Full, efficient contract tracing with transparency on infection/testing numbers and individuals. The Union demands to be made aware of reporting made to local/state health departments on COVID cases.
- Anyone who may have been in contact with an infected individual is immediately excused from work and provided free testing. Testing will also be made available to employee family members who live with affected employees and may have been infected.
- Employees testing positive will remain off work for a period of no less than 14 days and after two negative test results, administered at least 24 hours apart.
- Employees are permitted to take lunch breaks in their vehicles.
- Solidify in writing and expand the current policy on compensation for COVID quarantine. Currently, the employer pays for the first seven days of quarantine then transfers infected individuals to the short-term disability plan. Full quarantine pay expanded to 14 days.
- Hazard pay incentive of $.50/hr for working through an outbreak/pandemic.
- Cleaning and sanitizing of all work areas in the plant on a regular, set schedule, including mandatory hand washing. Deep cleaning required in any area where an infected person worked, prior to work in the area continuing.
Current Responsible RestartOhio guidance for manufacturing facilities does not require transparency with employees regarding contact tracing, only with the health department. Suggested guidance is to facilitate effective contact tracing and to have all possible exposures tested. Daily disinfection is a current requirement.
In a statement, Mauser Packaging Solutions said:
We are committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for our employees, particularly in the context of the current pandemic. The health and safety of our employees is the company’s top priority and we have taken and are continuing to take all appropriate measures to provide a safe work environment in our facilities.
We are closely monitoring and adhering to federal, state and local guidelines to reduce health risks associated with COVID-19 in all of our facilities.