WEST CHICAGO, IL — A third employee at the Jel Sert factory in West Chicago has been diagnosed with new coronavirus. In a post on its website, the company said it closed its manufacturing departments temporarily "to sanitize and deep clean all production and communal areas within production." The Jel Sert human resources department confirmed in a phone call that the plant reopened Tuesday.
Jel Sert officials added that the employee is as home and is receiving care.
Meanwhile, Casa DuPage Workers Center is asking Jel Sert to do more to ensure the safety of its employees. They say employees have asked them to communicate with Jel Sert on their behalf. Additionally, Casa DuPage says Jel Sert workers worry that "many more are infected."
In an open letter, Casa DuPage asked Jel Sert to do the following:
- Clean and sterilize the factory
- Test employees for coronavirus
- "Assure consumers that their food is not being processed by infected workers, especially the electrolyte drinks being delivered to hospitals in whose very department COVID-19 was found."
- Be sure returning workers are virus-free
- Compensate workers for at least two weeks emergency/ contingency sick days until the aove conditions are met
In a statement, Cristobal Cavazos of Immigrant Solidarity DuPage said, "The majority of Latinos- like the majority of workers at Jel Sert, are in the labor intensive service, food, construction and manufacturing sectors, unable to work from home and further given these mostly low wage, low benefit sectors often without health care, and without any protection from lay-offs, so Latino workers are out there disproportionately, risking their lives. This is especially risky as many of these workers at Jel Sert live in non nuclear families exposing elderly parents, young children and pregnant women to the virus."
Cavazos did not immediately respond to a request to speak with any employees from Jel Sert.
When asked for comment about Casa DuPage's request, the Jel Sert human resources department directed Patch to its website.
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