An additional 30,000 Colorado workers get emergency paid leave!

An additional 30,000 Colorado workers get emergency paid leave!

Friends – after another intense week of organizing we have gained emergency paid leave for over 30,000 food and beverage manufacturing workers in the state. This is the second expansion of the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (CO HELP) rule, following our successful effort last week to protect 20,000 grocery store workers.

Over 1,000 meat-processing workers called in sick this week at the JBS plant in Greeley, fearing a potential coronavirus outbreak. We jumped into action along with UFCW Local 7, which represents 3,000 of the approximately 4,500 workers there; 27 languages are spoken among the largely immigrant and refugee workforce.

Our leaders sent a letter to Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS, and met with plant executives on Friday.  They committed to these immediate improvements: on-site daily temperature checking during all shifts, online same-day access to doctors, use of full coverage (balaclava) mask, and health & safety information posted in various languages.

On Friday afternoon we also met with CDLE Director Joe Barela and Governor Polis’ staff to press the case for extending more protections to these workers; Director Barela said that in response to the work of Coloradans for the Common Good, CDLE would make another change to the CO HELP order. He added that “this represents an additional 30,000 workers in Colorado whose employers will have to provide up to four days of paid leave for COVID-related health issues; no doctor order is needed.”

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CDLE’s communication today is as follows:

The Colorado HELP Rules were adopted as temporary or emergency rules on March 11, 2020. The Rules then were amended on March 26, 2020, to modify Rule 3.1 to add coverage for:

(A) an additional industry category, “retail establishments that sell groceries”; and
(B) not just those “being tested” for COVID-19 (as in the original rules), but also those “under instructions from a health care provider to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19.”

The Rules now are being amended on April 3, 3030, to modify Rule 3.1 further to add coverage for:

(C) an additional industry category, “food and beverage manufacturing.”

These rules will remain in effect for the longer of (a) 30 days after adoption, or (b) the duration of the State of Disaster Emergency declared by the Governor, up to a maximum of 120 days after the adoption of these temporary rules.