Joe Biden is calling for extra premium pay for the nation’s essential workers, from healthcare employees to those who work in grocery stores and meatpacking plants.
Watch Biden’s remarks in the video player above.
Biden made the call during a LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) video town hall on protecting essential workers.
The former vice president said “nursing homes and meatpacking plants are the most dangerous places there are right now.” And he said those who work in those facilities deserve a safe working place and fair pay.
“They designate them as essential workers, then treat them as disposable. It’s quite frankly, inhumane and downright immoral,” Biden said.
He proposed a $13/per hour minimum additional pay raise for frontline workers, including meatpackers.
In a report Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 4,900 workers at meat and poultry processing facilities have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, 20 of whom have died.
Some states didn’t provide data for the report so the actual number is presumed to be higher.
The CDC said plant workers may be at risk for a number of reasons, such as difficulties with physical distancing and hygiene and crowded living and transportation conditions.
In addition to the premium pay, Biden called for free regular and enhanced COVID testing for meatpacking and other essential workers as well as proper protective gear and paid sick leave.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.