Food workers are essential workers!
The COVID Jungle: Chicagoland’s Essential Food Workers and the Need for Vaccination Priority a new report released by the Chicago based Warehouse Workers for Justice demand low-wage food workers the protections they deserve.
The report begins: The many low-wage workers in Illinois’ production, distribution, and logistics industries are essential workers, yet too many are consistently treated as if they are disposable. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these workers helped save lives by enabling others to quarantine, work from home, and social distance. Their labor has allowed many large corporations to not only stay afloat during the pandemic, but increase profits to record levels. Yet, their employers have frequently ignored their safety on the job, and, at times, retaliated against those who spoke out to demand compliance with safety protocols and compensation for the added risks of on-site work during the pandemic. Indifference towards these workers’ wellbeing and workplace abuse is nothing new, but COVID-19 has shed new light on the lawlessness and subcontracted employment arrangements in which these conditions occur not only in Illinois, but across the country and the world.
The report was organized in an effort to expose these abusive policies and demand the protections these essential workers deserve.
I was honored when Warehouse Workers for Justice reached out and asked me to work on a series of illustrations for their report. I designed a series of graphics intended to reflect the Warehouse Workers for Justice community and their work organizing low-wage temp workers to rise up and fight for their rights. The graphics highlight the dignity of these essential workers and the strength of their activism.
You can read the full report here and watch a video of a speak-out styled press conference featuring frontline food workers speaking to the issues here. The report also received press coverage in the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, Univision, FERN, Union of Concerned Scientists blog, Successful Farming, and the Joliet Herald News.
Warehouse Workers for Justice is also holding regular Know Your Rights Training for food and warehouse workers. Follow them on Facebook to learn about the next training.
And you can download high resolution versions of the graphics here.