Other Homes of the Underclass During Covid-19: Meat Processing Plants, Prisons and Reserves

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Aristotleded24

Welcome to Brandon:

Quote:

The leaders of Manitoba's opposition parties are backing a union's call to shut down the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Brandon, Man., after four cases of COVID-19 involving workers at the plant.

"We want them to shut the plant down," Jeff Traeger, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832, told CBC News on Thursday morning. 

The union said in a memo to workers early Thursday that three more cases had been identified among non-production unionized employees at the pork processing facility.

That came after one other worker in the plant tested positive for COVID-19, which prompted more than 70 employees who may have been exposed to go into self-isolation.

The first worker who tested positive, who also wasn't on the production line, hasn't been at work since July 28, the union said Wednesday.

The UFCW was alerted about the three new cases around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Traeger said. Now the union, which represents nearly 2,000 workers at the plant, wants Maple Leaf to stop production until at least Aug. 10, until more information is known about any of the 60 outstanding tests among workers.

I really hope this doesn't do to Brandon what the outbreak did to Brooks.

jerrym

Canada has negotiated with Quebec an agreement to create a path to permanent residency for health care workers who put their lives at risk in hospitals and long-term care homes, but this agreement will not extend to other asylum workers who put their lives at risk in essential services such as food services and security. Once again half measures is all that the Trudeau government does. 

The federal government is granting permanent residency to some asylum seekers who cared for patients in hospitals and long-term care homes at the height of the pandemic last spring, in a one-time program that became more restrictive as Ottawa negotiated with Quebec. ...

The compromise with Quebec, where most of the affected asylum seekers live and which has an agreement with Ottawa to oversee immigration, is to grant permanent residency if they worked in a hospital or other health-care institution and meet other eligibility requirements.

The decision would affect about 1,000 claimants across Canada. ...

hose working in hospitals and understaffed care homes risked exposure to COVID-19 — sometimes with fatal consequences — and have come to be known as "guardian angels" in Quebec. ...

To be eligible for permanent residency, asylum seekers must:

  • Have applied for asylum before March 13 and have a work permit.
  • Have worked in patient care at a health-care institution for at least 120 hours between March 13 and August 14.
  • Have six months of experience in patient care at a health-care institution by Aug. 31, 2021.
  • Meet other criteria related to permanent residency, notably health and safety requirements. ...

The federal government had initially envisioned broader eligibility requirements, which would have included other workers in hospitals and care facilities, such as security guards and maintenance staff.

But after weeks of negotiations with Quebec, Ottawa decided to tighten the program. As is the case with all who settle in the province, the asylum seekers will still need a certificat de sélection du Quebec (CSQ) from the province.

The program is open to both those whose cases are still open and those who have been denied permanent residency. An eligible asylum seeker's spouse and children will also be granted status under the program if they live in Canada. ...

"I think what it offers right now is a glimmer of hope," said Toronto-based immigration lawyer Adrienne Smith. Her clients, some of whom work in Ontario's long-term care homes, are facing delays of up to two years for a hearing with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

"They're putting their lives on the line right now, not even knowing they're going to be allowed to stay in the country," she said.

Montreal-based community group La Maison d'Haiti, which was consulted over the summer about the federal program, estimates there are thousands of asylum seekers in the province. The group's executive director, Marjorie Villefranche, is frustrated with the end result. She says the group pushed for all those who were working in what Quebec defined as essential services during the pandemic to be included. "They think that they came here and claimed for asylum the wrong way. It's like a punishment," she said of the provincial government.

Many Haitian asylum seekers reach Canada by crossing at an unofficial entry point at Roxham Road near Hemmingford, Que. ...

Paul Clarke, executive director of Action Réfugiés Montréal, said while it's always good news when asylum seekers are granted status, this measure does not go far enough. "There were asylum seekers who were working in warehouses all through the pandemic making sure that there was food at your local Loblaws or Provigo," he said. "It's a time to be generous with people who need protection."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/asylum-seekers-guardian-angels-c...

jerrym

Although Legault and Trudeau allowed those asylum seekers who worked in long term care homes and hospitals to have a route to permanent resdiency they did not even give that to security guards at these places. 

Doll Jean Frejus Nguessan Bi says he couldn’t sleep at all last night.

The asylum seeker from Ivory Coast works as a security guard in hospitals and long-term care homes in the Montreal area, where he watched many of his colleagues stop coming in as deaths linked to COVID-19 began to mount this spring.

But while Nguessan Bi kept working, he said he found out Friday that he would be excluded from a new government program to fast-track the permanent residency applications of some asylum seekers working on the front lines during the pandemic.

“Why (not) us? We who gave our hearts and our love… Why are we abandoned?” he said in an interview at a protest camp across the street from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Montreal riding office Saturday. “What did we do to deserve this?” ...

Ottawa announced Friday that asylum seekers working in specific jobs in the health-care sector would be eligible for permanent residency without first having to wait for their asylum claims to be accepted, as is typically the process. ...

But asylum seekers and their supporters say Ottawa’s plan excludes thousands of workers without permanent status in Canada who have laboured on the front lines during the pandemic, often at great personal risk to themselves and their families. ...

That includes security guards and janitorial staff, factory workers, and farm labourers, among others.

“I have friends who worked with me in security that abandoned (their posts) because they were afraid of getting infected. But I stayed,” said Nguessan Bi.

He said he wants Trudeau and Quebec Premier Francois Legault to do something to help asylum seekers who are not eligible for the new program.

Several dozen people rallied in front of Trudeau’s office on Saturday to demand permanent residency for all asylum seekers. ...

“It’s an act of recognition. They deserve status,” Joseph Clormeus, a member of Debout pour la dignite, a Montreal advocacy group that organized the rally, told the crowd.

Anite Presume, a Haitian asylum seeker who came to Quebec in August 2017 from the United States, was among the protesters.

She works in a medication factory, and said she kept working during the pandemic despite the risks.

“To take the bus, we were all stressed, but we still went to work because it was essential. They needed medication for the hospitals,” she said in an interview.

She said she has not received a response yet to her application for asylum in Canada, and lives under a cloud of uncertainty and stress about her future.

“It’s a feeling of rejection,” Presume said, about not being included in Ottawa’s regularization program. “They rejected us as if we did nothing.”

The program was the result of negotiations between the federal government and Quebec, who have had a strained relationship on the question of immigration, and in particular the asylum claimants, in recent years.

Public support has been building for asylum seekers’ demand for permanent residency after it was revealed that refugee claimants were among those toiling in Quebec’s long-term care facilities, which were hard-hit by COVID-19.

https://chatnewstoday.ca/2020/08/15/why-not-us-asylum-seekers-on-covid-1...

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Aristotleded24

Here we go again:

Quote:
The president of the union representing employees at the Lilydale poultry processing plant in southeast Calgary says the plant should be closed while the company deals with an outbreak of COVID-19.

"These plants should close for re-examination, from top to bottom a complete cleaning and allowing employees to go home and self-isolate," said Thomas Hesse, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 401. "That's what this plant needs to do.

"We just simply don't know what nooks and crannies this disease is in. It’s an old plant. It’s a crowded plant. It’s in the city of Calgary. It's a real danger and it ought to be closed until we can get a handle on it."

Alberta Health Services confirms that, as of Tuesday, there are 24 active cases at the Lilydale plant and three recovered cases linked to the outbreak. 

"I want to emphasize that management and staff involved in all of the outbreaks are working closely with public health to prevent the spread," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, in a press conference Monday. 

This is the second time there has been an outbreak at the facility located on Hurst Road S.E.

And this is the second time this happened at this particular plant?

jerrym

The UN is warning of the risks indigenous people around the world face during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Thanks to their traditional knowledge and their relationship with the natural world, they have long known that the degradation of the environment has the potential to unleash disease. As we fight against the spread of the pandemic, it is more important than ever to safeguard indigenous peoples and their knowledge. Their territories are home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity and they can teach us much about how to rebalance our relationship with nature and reduce the risk of future pandemics. ...

Indigenous communities already face a host of challenges, and the unfortunate present reality is that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are worsening these challenges further still.

Indigenous communities already experience poor access to healthcare, significantly higher rates of diseases, lack of access to essential services, sanitation, and other key preventive measures, such as clean water, soap, disinfectant, etc. Likewise, most  nearby local medical facilities are often under-equipped and under-staffed. Even when indigenous peoples can access healthcare services,  they can face stigma and discrimination. A key factor is to ensure services and facilities are provided in indigenous languages, as appropriate to the specific situation of Indigenous peoples. ...

Indigenous peoples’ traditional lifestyles are a source of their resiliency and can also pose a threat at this time in preventing the spread of the virus.  For example, most indigenous communities regularly organize large traditional gatherings to mark special events e.g. harvests, coming of age ceremonies, etc. Some indigenous communities also live in multi-generational housing, which puts Indigenous peoples and their families, especially the Elders, at risk.

Furthermore, indigenous peoples  already face food insecurity as a result of the loss of their traditional lands and territories or even climate change effects. They also  confront even graver challenges accessing food. With the loss of their traditional livelihoods, which are often land-based, many indigenous peoples, who work in traditional occupations and subsistence economies or in the informal sector, will be adversely affected by the pandemic. The situation of indigenous women, who are often the main providers of food and nutrition to their families, is even graver.

https://www.un.org/en/observances/indigenous-day

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The Pandemic Accelerates the Rise⁠—and Criminalization⁠—of Tent Cities

quote:

How COVID-19 Accelerated Criminalization

With the advent of COVID-19 and policies of social isolation, North America’s homeless population is experiencing the criminalization of poverty in accelerated time. The many homeless people who ride New York’s subways at night are being pushed out, with the help of NYPD officers, to allow for nightly sanitizing of trains, despite hundreds of cases of COVID-19 in city shelters.

A threatened eviction of homeless people in Philadelphia from the tunnels beneath the city’s Convention Center was sped up, even as alternatives on offer are far more dangerous than before. “The city decided to evict individuals who stay in one of the safest parts of the city,” said Philadelphia homelessness and drug user rights activist Sterling Johnson, “stating that they are helping.”

They are not. That particular eviction took place on March 23—the day after the Centers for Disease Control released guidance advising that encampments should not be cleared unless housing is available, due to the risk of exacerbating the spread of COVID-19. “They do not have apartment units for them with private bathrooms and space to maintain a specific distance like has been asked of all of us,” confirmed Johnson.

The CDC is not the only body that has spoken out against dismantling of encampments. Overseas, well before COVID-19, UN Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha toured migrant camps, urban squats and Roma settlements across France and “called for an end to evictions that violated international law ensuring the right to adequate housing,” as Reuters reported. Not just housing, but adequate housing is a right that has been violated by almost all governments at all levels all along.

The day I visited Sanctuary, as someone with a medical condition that placed me at high risk, I was already worried about the possibility of COVID-19. I was equally nervous about the possibility of offending one of the people I was going to interview by refusing to shake hands. I didn’t want them to think I thought they were diseased. That’s a common assumption, after all.

In 2014, the city of Marseille, France, issued an ID card to the city’s homeless people, meant to be worn visibly. It was distinctly similar to Nazi-era badges, bearing a yellow triangles, ID information and a list of the bearer’s health issues. The scheme was abandoned after public outcry, but the impulse behind it survives worldwide.

Stigma against unhoused people and community opposition to services for them overlap with stigma and fear around HV/AIDS and AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as racism, the stigmatization of drug use, and other prejudices. In Gallup, New Mexico, hard-hit by COVID-19, some homeless patients have been provided with certification cards attesting that they’ve been cleared for the disease, which are to be used to ensure access to shelter services......

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Indigenous vice-chief calls on correctional service commissioner to resign

Congress of Aboriginal Peoples Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin is calling for accountability after a panel of experts assigned to look into the use of Structured Intervention Units (SIUs), in Canadian prisons released a scathing report on 19 Aug. detailing how their work was obstructed, undermined and blocked by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).

“The panel has now disbanded and will not be able to complete its work to ensure safety for prisoners in Canada,” said Beaudin, who worked as a justice of the peace for the Province of Saskatchewan for five years, and later as an advocate for incarcerated Indigenous youth .

SIUs are meant as a way to avoid solitary confinement and are implemented when an inmate is found to be a danger to themselves or others. The panel was supposed to gauge their effectiveness. Beaudin said they are essentially one and the same.

"I’m dealing with people in prison that have been cut completely off from their families. Literally cut right off. They're not even allowed to talk to them. Their mothers can’t even visit them when they’re in prison. They’re not allowed," Beaudin said.

University of Toronto Criminologist Anthony Doob, who chaired the inquiry, said their work was thwarted by a lack of cooperation from the Correctional Service of Canada.

“Very simply, this panel has not been allowed to do its work,” Doob, wrote in an Aug. 19 memo attached to the report. Doob said the CSC did not provide workable data to go by.

Beaudin pointed to the death of Curtis McKenzie, a 27-year-old member of Lac La Ronge Indian Band, who took his own life in March while in the custody of the Correctional Service of Canada at Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert.

“He suffered from (having been) in solitary confinement… We fought so hard trying to get some oversight and trying to make sure that Canada was following international law about torture, and obviously they’re not,” Beaudin told Canada’s National Observer in an interview on Thursday.

“It seems like once you are in the system you’re done. You’re hidden in the system. There’s no transparency, there’s no accountability for officials. They can do whatever they want.”

Beaudin said McKenzie was one of many....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Meatpacking Executives Drafted Trump’s Order to Keep Plants Open Amid Pandemic

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is facing criticism for fining a JBS beef plant in Greeley, Colorado, under $16,000 after six workers — all immigrants — died at the plant from COVID-19. Nearly 300 workers became infected. One family of a deceased worker described the small fine as a “huge slap in the face.” Last year JBS reported over $50 billion in revenue.

Meanwhile, ProPublica has obtained emails showing the text of President Trump’s controversial executive order keeping meatpacking plants open during the pandemic was based largely on language written by the meat industry.

jerrym

The following article talks about the homeless in Toronto not counting. The same could be said for the rest of Canada or for that matter anywhere in the world. 

In Toronto, in a pandemic, homeless people don't "count." ...

For over 20 years frontline workers and advocates have been tracking homeless deaths and holding a monthly homeless memorial outdoors, rain or shine, at the Church of the Holy Trinity. Names are added to a makeshift outdoor memorial board, people's lives are honoured and the tragedy of their death called out. There is music, the sharing of grief and a community meal.

In January, 2020 the 1,000th name was added to the memorial.  ...

Homeless people in the pandemic have been left behind. In March, the city stopped posting overnight shelter statistics (an indicator of crowding and lack of vacancy) until the Toronto ombudsman office intervened and an agreement they would post weekly was achieved. The city's reluctance to enforce physical distancing in shelters meant that a legal coalition had to take the city to court to enforce two-metre physical distancing of beds, cots and mats.

The city's mask bylaw for indoor common spaces did not apply to shelters and a mask policy for shelter residents was only announced September 4.

Even in death homeless people are left behind. The last death statistic on the city website is for January 2020, and is only from the death in shelter data set. ...

From my limited knowledge I can tell you that during the pandemic two women were found dead, one in a tent, one in a sleeping bag outside. At the September memorial two of the four names added had been murdered. The number of overdose deaths in hotel/shelters is staggering. An agency worker has reported to me that she knows of 10 deaths at her shelter. At least four people have died of COVID.

Surely, this is urgent information that begs attention. ...

While Toronto Public Health and the city’s shelter division shut down tracking homeless deaths, other equally busy city departments continued with data collection and reporting in 2020. I was able to easily find these numbers:

HomicidesAs of September 13: 52

In addition: auto theft, break and entry, robbery, sexual assault categories are all included as of September 2020.

Shooting and firearm dischargesAs of September 12: 357 Fatal collisions. As of June 2: 781 Toronto Fire responses. As of September 14: Overall fires up 17 per cent since the pandemic.  DineSafe Toronto. As of July: In one week, five. Photo-radar. As of September 8: more than 22,000 tickets issued.

The pandemic is teaching us many lessons about inequity. As Greg Cook notes: "One thing that this global pandemic has made even more crystal clear is that some lives aren't cared for by our city government. Some deaths not even acknowledged.

https://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/cathy-crowes-blog/2020/09/torontos-home...

Aristotleded24

jerrym wrote:

The following article talks about the homeless in Toronto not counting. The same could be said for the rest of Canada or for that matter anywhere in the world. 

In Toronto, in a pandemic, homeless people don't "count." ...

For over 20 years frontline workers and advocates have been tracking homeless deaths and holding a monthly homeless memorial outdoors, rain or shine, at the Church of the Holy Trinity. Names are added to a makeshift outdoor memorial board, people's lives are honoured and the tragedy of their death called out. There is music, the sharing of grief and a community meal.

In January, 2020 the 1,000th name was added to the memorial.  ...

Homeless people in the pandemic have been left behind. In March, the city stopped posting overnight shelter statistics (an indicator of crowding and lack of vacancy) until the Toronto ombudsman office intervened and an agreement they would post weekly was achieved. The city's reluctance to enforce physical distancing in shelters meant that a legal coalition had to take the city to court to enforce two-metre physical distancing of beds, cots and mats.

The city's mask bylaw for indoor common spaces did not apply to shelters and a mask policy for shelter residents was only announced September 4.

Even in death homeless people are left behind. The last death statistic on the city website is for January 2020, and is only from the death in shelter data set. ...

From my limited knowledge I can tell you that during the pandemic two women were found dead, one in a tent, one in a sleeping bag outside. At the September memorial two of the four names added had been murdered. The number of overdose deaths in hotel/shelters is staggering. An agency worker has reported to me that she knows of 10 deaths at her shelter. At least four people have died of COVID.

Surely, this is urgent information that begs attention. ...

While Toronto Public Health and the city’s shelter division shut down tracking homeless deaths, other equally busy city departments continued with data collection and reporting in 2020. I was able to easily find these numbers:

HomicidesAs of September 13: 52

In addition: auto theft, break and entry, robbery, sexual assault categories are all included as of September 2020.

Shooting and firearm dischargesAs of September 12: 357 Fatal collisions. As of June 2: 781 Toronto Fire responses. As of September 14: Overall fires up 17 per cent since the pandemic.  DineSafe Toronto. As of July: In one week, five. Photo-radar. As of September 8: more than 22,000 tickets issued.

The pandemic is teaching us many lessons about inequity. As Greg Cook notes: "One thing that this global pandemic has made even more crystal clear is that some lives aren't cared for by our city government. Some deaths not even acknowledged.

https://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/cathy-crowes-blog/2020/09/torontos-home...

Absolutely jerry. I'm quite worried that limits on indoor capacity on things like drop-in centres or public libraries in the winter will expose people to the risk of freezing to death on the streets, and that public health officials and the rest of us will be too busy patting ourselves on the back about the good job we are doing to fight the pandemic to notice.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

In Winnipeg, new funding was announced just today about helping increase safe spaces for the homeless population. I believe that Main Street Project, Salvation Army and a few others will be getting grants to this effect.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

U.S. Billionaires Added $845B to Net Worth Since March as Pandemic Exposed Racial Inequities

In the United States, the Department of Labor is reporting another 860,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits last week. Since the pandemic began, around 60 million jobless claims have been filed — a new record.

Meanwhile, the total net worth of the nation’s billionaires has soared by nearly $850 billion since mid-March — a 29% increase. That’s according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies.

This comes as a new poll conducted by NPR and researchers at Harvard finds economic fallout from the pandemic has hit communities of color the hardest. The study found 72% of Latinx households, 60% of Black households and 55% of Native American households have reported “serious financial problems” this year, with trouble paying for food, housing and debt.

Pondering

There is a showdown coming in Montreal. The city is providing only shelter spaces which many of the homeless are refusing. Plante says she doesn't want to use force but I fear she will do so eventually.

 I think the problem was born from the closure of rooming houses and that the solution is providing public rooming houses with some form of cafeteria.

They have already used the Royal Vic for temporary housing. As a former hospital the rooms have bathrooms so it could easily be transformed into a rooming house. It's so big it could house all sorts of social services.

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