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Read our New Report "The COVID Jungle"

Last week, Chicago Workers' Collaborative released the report we produced with Warehouse Workers for Justice and Partners for Dignity and Rights, based off 90 interviews with low-wage temp and warehouse workers employed in food production and logistics across the metropolitan Chicago region.

Our report, co-written by Elena Gormley, CWC's Social Work Intern, and Tommy Carden, the Emergency Foodchain Organizer at Warehouse Workers for Justice, shows that the poor working conditions in food manufacturing that Upton Sinclair described in The Jungle never went away.

We found that over 60% of workers interviewed said that they would NOT receive paid sick leave from their employer should they get sick with COVID or have to quarantine. And of those workers interviewed who had themselves contracted Covid, 83% of them did NOT receive paid sick leave or government assistance.

49% of workers interviewed reported they have not received new training or information from their employer on how to work safely during the pandemic, which is required by Illinois state law. 40% of workers interviewed reported that they are not screened every day at work for symptoms. A combined 49% of workers interviewed said that their workplace was not properly sanitized or they did not know if it was.

85% of workers interviewed said that their employer either: didn’t respond to workers’ complaints, retaliated against those who spoke up with concerns about their employers’ handling of COVID-19, or took action that didn’t improve the situation.

Our report makes clear that ensuring safety for the workers who make it possible for many to stay home requires vaccine prioritization, but doesn't stop there. The region's essential temp workforce also needs paid time off, hazard pay, and universal just cause policies so workers aren't fired for speaking out about workplace safety concerns.

You can watch the report authors, and workers directly impacted by COVID-19, share the findings and recommendations in the report, during last week's Facebook Live press conference here.

Our report is below. Please read and share widely. The way we build worker power is through sharing the stories of Chicago's essential temp workforce and organizing to create long-term changes in policy. Want to get involved? Email

WWJ Food Workers Report-2-1
Download PDF • 5.70MB

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