Richmond church event to advocate for HelloFresh factory workers

Independent Community Church
Photo by Mike Kinney

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.