Nebraska senator proposes protections for meat plant workers

Nebraska News

This May 20, 2020, photo provided by Smithfield Foods shows some of the measures the company says it has taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus inside its plants. Workers inside its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, pork processing plant wear protective gear and are separated by plastic partitions as they carve up meat. (Photo courtesy Smithfield Foods via AP)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska lawmaker is proposing new coronavirus protections for meatpacking workers in a new bill.

The proposal by Sen. Tony Vargas, of Omaha, would require meatpacking companies to provide masks and adequate space for social distancing to keep the virus from spreading.

Companies would also have to paid sick leave for workers who test positive for the virus, separate from any other paid sick leave.

Vargas introduced a similar measure last summer, but the bill failed to advance.

His south Omaha district has a large number of meatpacking workers, and his father died from complications of the coronavirus last year.

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