A bill for an act
relating to labor; providing safe workplaces for meat and poultry processing
workers; authorizing rulemaking; requiring a report; appropriating money;
proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 179.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [179.87] TITLE.
new text end

new text begin Sections 179.87 to 179.8757 may be titled the Safe Workplaces for Meat and Poultry
Processing Workers Act.
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [179.871] DEFINITIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin For purposes of sections 179.87 to 179.8757, the terms in
this section have the meanings given.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Authorized employee representative. new text end

new text begin "Authorized employee representative"
has the meaning given in section 182.651, subdivision 22.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Commissioner. new text end

new text begin "Commissioner" means the commissioner of labor and industry
or the commissioner's designee.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Coordinator. new text end

new text begin "Coordinator" means the meatpacking industry worker rights
coordinator or the coordinator's designee.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Meat-processing worker. new text end

new text begin "Meat-processing worker" or "worker" means any
individual who a meat-processing employer suffers or permits to work directly in contact
with raw meatpacking products in a meatpacking operation, including independent contractors
and persons performing work for an employer through a temporary service or staffing
agency.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Meatpacking operation. new text end

new text begin "Meatpacking operation" or "meat-processing
employer" means a business in which slaughtering, butchering, meat canning, meatpacking,
meat manufacturing, poultry canning, poultry packing, poultry manufacturing, pet food
manufacturing, egg production, processing of meatpacking products, or rendering occurs.
Meatpacking operation or meat-processing employer does not mean a grocery store, deli,
restaurant, or other business preparing meat or poultry products for immediate consumption.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Meatpacking products. new text end

new text begin "Meatpacking products" means meat food products
and poultry food products as defined in section 31A.02, subdivision 10.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Public health emergency. new text end

new text begin "Public health emergency" means a peacetime
emergency declared by the governor under section 12.31, a federal public health emergency
declared by the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, or a national
emergency declared by the president due to infectious disease or another significant threat
to public health.
new text end

Sec. 3.

new text begin [179.8715] WORKER RIGHTS COORDINATOR.
new text end

new text begin (a) The commissioner must appoint a meatpacking industry worker rights coordinator
in the Department of Labor and Industry and provide the coordinator with necessary office
space, furniture, equipment, supplies, and assistance.
new text end

new text begin (b) The coordinator must enforce sections 179.87 to 179.8757, including inspecting,
reviewing, and recommending improvements to the practices and procedures of meatpacking
operations in Minnesota. A meat-processing employer must grant the coordinator full access
to all meatpacking operations in this state at any time that meatpacking products are being
processed or meat-processing workers are on the job.
new text end

new text begin (c) No later than December 1 each year, the coordinator must submit a report to the
governor and the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees with
jurisdiction over labor. The report must include recommendations to promote better treatment
of meat-processing workers. The coordinator shall also post the report on the Department
of Labor and Industry's website.
new text end

Sec. 4.

new text begin [179.872] REFUSAL TO WORK UNDER DANGEROUS CONDITIONS.
new text end

new text begin (a) A meat-processing worker has a right to refuse to work under conditions that the
worker reasonably believes would expose the worker, other workers, or the public to an
unreasonable risk of illness or injury, or exposure to illness or injury, including the infectious
disease known as COVID-19.
new text end

new text begin (b) A meat-processing employer must not discriminate or take adverse action against
any worker for a good faith refusal to work if the worker has requested that the employer
correct a hazardous condition and that condition remains uncorrected.
new text end

new text begin (c) A meat-processing worker who has refused in good faith to work under paragraph
(a) or (b) and who has not been reassigned to other work by the meat-processing employer
must, in addition to retaining a right to continued employment, continue to be paid by the
employer for the hours that would have been worked until such time as the meat-processing
employer can demonstrate that the condition has been remedied.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [179.874] UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE; DANGEROUS MEAT
PACKING CONDITIONS.
new text end

new text begin (a) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the provisions of this section govern
unemployment insurance claims for meat-processing workers.
new text end

new text begin (b) An individual who left employment because a meat-processing employer failed to
cure a working condition that made the work environment unsuitable for health or safety
reasons has good cause for leaving employment.
new text end

new text begin (c) During a public health emergency, an individual must not be required to prove that
a working condition that made the environment unsuitable for health or safety reasons was
unique to the worker or that the risk was not customary to the worker's occupation.
new text end

new text begin (d) An individual must be deemed to have exhausted reasonable alternatives to leaving
if the individual, authorized employee representative, or another employee notified the
meat-processing employer of the unsafe or unhealthy working condition and the employer
did not cure it or if the employer knew or should have had reason to know that the condition
made the work environment unsuitable and did not cure it.
new text end

new text begin (e) During a public health emergency, an individual has good cause to leave employment
if the individual leaves to care for a seriously ill or quarantined family or household member.
new text end

new text begin (f) An individual has good cause to refuse an offer of employment or reemployment if
the meat-processing employer has not cured a working condition that makes the work
environment unsuitable for health or safety reasons, including any condition that required
the workplace to close or reduce operations pursuant to a state or federal executive order
issued during a public health emergency.
new text end

new text begin (g) An individual has good cause to refuse an offer of employment or reemployment
from a meat-processing employer if the conditions of work would require the individual to
violate government public health guidance or to assume an unreasonable health risk.
new text end

new text begin (h) An individual has good cause to refuse an offer of employment or reemployment
from a meat-processing employer if the individual is required to care for a child whose
school is closed due to a public health emergency or if the individual is required to otherwise
care for a family or household member during a public health emergency.
new text end

Sec. 6.

new text begin [179.875] ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Administrative enforcement. new text end

new text begin The coordinator, either on the coordinator's
initiative or in response to a complaint, may inspect a meatpacking operation and subpoena
records and witnesses. If a meat-processing employer does not comply with the coordinator's
inspection, the coordinator may seek relief as provided in this section.
new text end

new text begin <