DES MOINES, Iowa — State Rep. RasTafari Smith (D-Waterloo) and Rep. Timi Brown-Powers (D-Waterloo) will host a press conference in Wiese Park at 10 a.m. Friday to discuss their Iowa Worker’s Bill of Rights and OSHA Standards bill, developed to address working conditions in meatpacking plants such as the Tyson Fresh Meats in Perry and in response to the failure of Iowa’s Republican lawmakers to protect workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Inhumane working conditions existed long before the pandemic,” Smith said, “but COVID-19 revealed the ugly truth that Iowa GOP leadership and corporate leaders view workers as expendable, not essential.”
The bills were developed in response to the illness, suffering and death that ravaged Iowa’s meatpacking plants, Smith said, but the bills’ protections are not limited to packing plant workers. The bills guarantee all workers, including private and public sector workers and independent contractors and subcontractors, will receive adequate health and safety protections, paid sick and family and medical leave and protections from employer harassment.
“The Workers Bill of Rights and the OSHA bill have been a concern for years,” said Brown-Powers, “but the pandemic highlighted these concerns on the backs of workers and their families. It’s time to stop talking about it and start doing something for our workers.”
Wiese Park is located at 1800 Pattee St. in Perry. The lawmakers will also host a press conference in Marshalltown Friday afternoon.