By Mike Kinney
Workers at Hello Fresh’s factory in Richmond, along with advocates of their efforts to unionize, will speak at a gathering Thursday at Independent Community Church, 605 S. 16th St., from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., organizers said.
They say HelloFresh, a German meal-kit company, profited from the COVID-19 pandemic while workers suffered from unsafe conditions.
Earlier this year, the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health fined HelloFresh’s Richmond factory $8,435 for violating COVID-19 workplace safety protocols during the pandemic last year, including failing to enforce face coverings, social distancing and for not installing physical barriers to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as Plexiglass shields.
The HelloFresh warehouse in Richmond was the site of the largest single outbreak of COVID-19 in Contra Costa County, with 171 cases, according to an analysis of reported outbreaks by the Bay Area News Group.
In an Oct. 20 report by KQED, a HelloFresh spokesperson said health, safety and well-being of workers are prioritized “above all else,” adding, “HelloFresh was among the first companies in the industry to introduce robust COVID-19 response measures.”
Thursday’s event is sponsored by Pastor Raymond Landry and presented by Southside Economic Empowerment Development and The Faith Alliance For A Moral Economy, in partnership with EBASE, UNITE HERE, HelloFresh workers, and Richmond native and community advocate Antwon Cloird.