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CWC and WWJ Applaud Actions By OSHA and Department of Labor Following Death at Rich’s Products

CWC and WWJ Praises Action by Department of Labor and OSHA but Says More Needs To Be Done To Protect Immigrant Workers in Manufacturing and the Temporary Staffing Industry


January 31st, Chicago- Chicago Workers Collaborative and Warehouse Workers for Justice thanks and acknowledges the leadership and advocacy of all partners, including the National Legal Advocacy Network and the Raise The Floor Alliance, for raising awareness of the tragic death of Adewale Ogunyemi, who died because of unsafe working conditions at Rich Production in Crest Hill on July 20th. Following the tragic death of the 42 year-old temporary worker, OSHA’s Chicago South Area region has now fined Rich’s Products $145,027 in penalties and more importantly, they have placed the repeat safety offender into OSHA’s Severe Violator Program. CWC would also like to specifically recognize OSHA’s Chicago South Area Director James Martineck and Lisa Sciolaro, Regional Labor Liaison, for their work in this case and for their due diligence that led to this outcome. CWC, along with our allies, mourns the unnecessary and preventable loss of life of an immigrant worker in the Chicagoland community.


“At CWC, we know that temporary workers are 3 to 6 times more likely to suffer workplace accidents than workers directly hired by companies. Most of these temps are immigrants whose voices are ignored when raising safety issues with their employers,” said Oswaldo Alvarez, Executive Director of Chicago Workers Collaborative. “We need protections that help our immigrant essential workers blow the whistle when things are unsafe in the workplace. This includes agencies like OSHA and the Department of Homeland Security collaborating to provide protective measures such as U-visas, deferred action and other relief that allows our workers to speak up when things are unsafe so that we can prevent more deaths.”


“Warehouse Workers for Justice is glad to see that Rich Products has been found to be a repeat safety offender, something workers on the ground have known for too long,” said Marcos Ceniceros, Executive Director of Warehouse Workers for Justice. “While we celebrate this development, we will continue to support workers at Rich Products and at all other warehouses who want to speak up about work conditions without fear of retaliation and come together to ensure lasting changes are made.”


Along with our allies CWC and WWJ remain committed to improving the lives of temporary staffing agency workers and essential immigrant workers.

Media Contacts: Roberto Clack, Deputy Director, Chicago Workers Collaborative, roberto@chicagoworkerscollaborative.org, 312.450.1972 Tommy Carden, Food Worker Lead Organizer, Warehouse Workers for Justice, tommy@warehouseworker.org, 312.206.8901


Founded in 2000, the Chicago Workers' Collaborative promotes the creation of stable, living wage jobs with race, class, and gender equity for precarious workers in the Chicago region.


Based in Joliet Illinois, Warehouse Workers for Justice is a worker center fighting for stable, living-wage jobs in warehouses and distribution centers. We educate workers about labor rights, teach workers how to enforce their rights, organize in the workplace and community and fight for public and private policies that promote full-time work at decent wages in the warehouse industry.


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