Danger and desperation in the meatpacking industry

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Labor shortages have become a major problem in numerous different industries — and the meatpacking industry is one of the hardest hit. So where are meatpacking companies turning to find the labor they need?

The immigrant workforce is largely coming to the rescue. Foreign workers on visas and undocumented immigrants alike are increasingly being used to supplement the domestic labor force here in Minnesota.

That creates a new problem, however: Many of the workers at local meatpacking facilities are untrained or receive only cursory training. Their lack of experience can easily make an already dangerous job even more hazardous.

Are immigrant workers entitled to workers’ compensation benefits?

The vast majority of workers in this country are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits (including medical coverage for their injuries and replacement wages). That includes immigrant workers.

Moreover, it doesn’t matter whether the immigrant worker is here legally, on a visa, or undocumented and working illegally. In a 2016 case (Sanchez v. Dahlke Trailer Sales, Inc.) the Minnesota Supreme Court not only affirmed this right but also held that employers who attempt to terminate an immigrant worker for filing a workers’ comp claim are guilty of illegal retaliation.

Workers’ compensation benefits are your right after a workplace injury

Meatpacking workers encounter significant workplace hazards every day. Injuries from falls, biological hazards, hand and arm injuries due to issues with the machinery, repetitive motion injuries and more are a constant possibility.

If you’ve been injured at your meatpacking job, don’t let your immigration status prevent you from filing a claim and getting the benefits you are due. Help is available if you need it.