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From the editor’s desk: May 7, 2020

By 
Kathleen Gilluly Laurel Outlook Editor And General Manager
Thursday, May 7, 2020

Suck it up, you aren’t so special

In today’s history column there is mention of Victory in Europe on May 5, 1945. The Allies had finally defeated the evil Nazi regime and reached an agreement to be signed May 7 of that year. Although it wasn’t the law, anyone who didn’t pitch in for that victory in the form of purchasing war bonds or collecting kitchen fat or sewing bandages for the Red Cross was berated (and sometimes worse) for their inaction. Everyone volunteered during the war. Helping out eased the pain of losing friends and relatives, and made living with food and other shortages seem less like sacrifice and more battling for the common good.

Whether that attitude is outdated in today’s world or not, the Laurel Outlook will have information in the upcoming weeks on ways each of us can help out while providing the best information from the professionals on how we can continue to stay safe and stop the spread of the enemy, the coronavirus. Folks who choose not to step up, who choose personal freedom over the best interests of everyone should be scolded.

During WWII, folks didn’t complain about sacrificing to save the world. We shouldn’t either.

 

Protect packing plant workers and our food supply

By Gladys Godinez, community organizer, Center for Rural Affairs

Meatpacking plants across the country have become COVID-19 hotspots, and the struggles faced by the people working inside are apparent and alarming.

Our friends and neighbors are being asked to risk their health, safety, and lives without vital protections on the job which, in turn, is endangering our food supply and our entire communities. People working in meat and poultry plants continue to be asked to work shoulder to shoulder without critical protections and they are getting sicker and sicker as a result.

The spread of COVID-19 in meatpacking communities is happening because meatpacking plants have responded insufficiently to this public health crisis. A lack of safety is leading to plant shutdowns, and that is something that we all want to avoid.

For the last month, we have had many conversations with these employees and their family members. Six-foot physical distancing is not happening in most plants across the country on the production floor.

One simple request comes from the son of a meatpacking plant worker. “Provide our essential meatpacking workers with paid leave, hazard pay, personal protective equipment, and free COVID-19 testing for employees and their families,” he said.

We do not have to choose between food production and worker safety. Continued food production depends on worker safety. Companies, as well as state and federal governments, need to step up and offer their essential workers real and meaningful solutions to keep everyone safe and economically secure.

By implementing protections for essential workers, their families, and communities, we can help slow the spread of the virus and ensure food production can continue safely throughout the U.S.

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

Upcoming Events

Monday, May 10, 2021
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.
Monday, May 10, 2021
Second & fourth Monday at 11 a.m., Big Horn Resort, 1801 Majestic Lane, 281-8455
Monday, May 10, 2021
Free, 2nd Monday, 3-5 p.m., Frontier Cancer Center, 1315 Golden Valley Cir., Billings, 800-227-2345
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Wednesdays, 7 p.m., 201 1/2 E. Main St., Laurel
Thursday, May 13, 2021
2nd Thursday, 6 p.m., Council Chambers
Monday, May 17, 2021
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.

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