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PRINTER'S NO. 2123
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
1874
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY MULLERY, BURGOS, LEE, SANCHEZ, KINSEY,
SCHLOSSBERG, HARKINS, T. DAVIS, FREEMAN, PASHINSKI, DELLOSO,
DRISCOLL, McNEILL, MERSKI, CIRESI, PISCIOTTANO, DEASY,
INNAMORATO, GUZMAN, O'MARA, BENHAM AND KINKEAD,
SEPTEMBER 16, 2021
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND INDUSTRY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2021
AN ACT
Providing for regulation of the meatpacking and food processing
industry by creating facility health and safety committees in
the workplace; establishing the industry workers' rights
coordinator within the Department of Labor and Industry; and
providing for public health emergency protections for
workers.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Meat Packing
and Food Processing Protection Act.
Section 2. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Department." The Department of Labor and Industry of the
Commonwealth.
"Employee." An individual who is employed by a meatpacking,
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meat processing or food processing facility licensed under the
act of July 9, 1968 (P.L.304, No.151), known as Pennsylvania
Meat and Poultry Hygiene Law of 1968.
"Employer." A business located in this Commonwealth and
licensed under the Pennsylvania Meat and Poultry Hygiene Law of
1968.
"Facility." The location of an employer that the employees
perform job-related duties or the following occurs, but not
limited to:
(1) slaughtering or butchering;
(2) meat canning, meatpacking or meat manufacturing;
(3) poultry canning, packing or manufacturing;
(4) pet food manufacturing;
(5) egg production;
(6) processing of meatpacking products;
(7) commercial packaging; or
(8) the making, cooking, mixing, processing, bottling,
baking, canning, freezing, packing or rendering of meat
products.
"Facility health and safety committee" or "committee." A
committee authorized and established under section 5.
"Industry workers' rights coordinator" or "coordinator." The
coordinator appointed by the secretary under section 5(j).
"Public health emergency." One or more of the following
occurrences:
(1) Imminent threat of an illness or health condition
caused by epidemic or pandemic disease.
(2) A novel and highly fatal infectious agent or
biological toxin that poses a substantial risk of a
significant number of human fatalities or permanent or long-
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term disability.
(3) A declaration by the Governor of disaster emergency
under 35 Pa.C.S. section 7301(c) (relating to general
authority of Governor) issued because of an occurrence
described in paragraph (1) or (2).
(4) A Federal public health emergency declared by the
Secretary of Health and Human Services.
(5) A national public health emergency declared by the
President of the United States.
"Secretary." The Secretary of Labor and Industry of the
Commonwealth.
Section 3. Training provided by employer.
(a) General rule.--Upon hire, an employer must provide to an
employee in the language that the employee speaks, if at least
5% of the employer's workforce speaks the language, information
on the following:
(1) Health risks directly associated with the duties of
employment, including repetitive strain injuries,
musculoskeletal disorders and respiratory hazards.
(2) The employee's right to seek medical care for
injuries that occur as a result of employment.
(3) A summary of the rights and requirements under the
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-
596, 29 U.S.C. ยง 651 et seq.) and related Federal
regulations.
(4) The facility health and safety committee established
under section 5.
(5) The employee's right to paid sick time off as
provided under section 4.
(b) Training provided.--
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(1) An employer shall provide worker safety training to
new employees during normal working hours and at the standard
rate of compensation.
(2) Training shall be available in languages spoken by
at least 5% of employees.
(3) Training shall be provided without a penalty imposed
by the employer.
(4) An employee shall have the right to additional
training, upon request, within 30 days of the employee's hire
date.
Section 4. Sick and medical benefits.
(a) Paid sick time.--
(1) An employer shall provide its employees who work
full time not less than seven paid sick days, paid at the
regular rate of pay, to be used for illness or injury
annually. Paid sick time may be used for care to the employee
or for care to a sick or injured immediate family member.
Unused paid sick time shall carry forward to the next
calendar year.
(2) An employer shall provide employees who work part-
time five paid sick days, paid at the regular rate of pay, to
be used for illness or injury annually. Paid sick time may be
used to care for the employee or to care for a sick or
injured immediate family member. Unused paid sick time shall
carry forward to the next calendar year.
(b) Medical transportation.--If an employee is injured or
becomes ill at the facility as a result of duties associated
with the employee's employment and requires immediate emergency
medical attention that cannot be acquired from an on-site
licensed medical professional, the employer shall pay for out-
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of-pocket expenses not covered by an insurance plan associated
with the emergency medical transportation.
(c) Penalties prohibited.--An employer may not penalize an
employee who exercises the employee's rights under this section.
Section 5. Facility health and safety committee.
(a) Establishment.--An employer shall establish and
administer a joint labor-management facility health and safety
committee to help reduce the risk of injury and unsafe
conditions at the facility.
(b) Committee membership.--
(1) The committee membership shall represent all primary
operations of the workplace.
(2) The committees shall be composed of a minimum of two
employer-representatives and a minimum of two employee
representatives.
(3) Employer-representatives must be individuals who,
regardless of job title or labor organization affiliation,
and based upon an examination of that individual's authority
or responsibility, perform one or more of the following
duties:
(i) Select or hire an employee.
(ii) Remove or terminate an employee.
(iii) Direct the manner of employee performance.
(iv) Control an employee.
(4) Employee-representatives must be individuals who
perform services for an employer for valuable consideration
and do not possess the authority or responsibility described
in paragraph (3).
(5) An individual may not function as both an employer-
representative and an employee representative.
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(6) If a collective bargaining agreement is in place at
the facility:
(i) Paragraph (4) shall not apply.
(ii) The union may select the employee-
representatives.
(iii) Employee-representatives may be union
representatives who are not employees at the facility.
(c) Committee formation.--
(1) An employer that has only one workplace within this
Commonwealth shall form a single workplace safety committee
at the workplace.
(2) An employer that has more than one workplace within
this Commonwealth shall form separate and individual safety
committees at each facility within this Commonwealth.
(3) The committee shall be composed of at least an equal
number of employer and employee representatives.
(4) The committee shall establish procedures that retain
a core group of experienced members to serve on the committee
at all times.
(5) Employee representatives of the committees shall:
(i) Be permitted to take reasonable time from work
to perform committee duties, without loss of pay or
benefits.
(ii) Join the committee for a continuous term of one
year from the date of the first meeting attended.
(d) Committee responsibilities.--The facility health and
safety committee shall have responsibilities of:
(1) Representing the accident and illness prevention
concerns of employees for the employer.
(2) Reviewing the employer's hazard detection and
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accident and illness prevention programs and formulating
written proposals.
(3) Establishing procedures for periodic workplace
inspections by the committee for the purpose of locating and
identifying health and safety hazards. The locations and
identity of hazards shall be documented in writing, and the
committee shall make proposals to the employer regarding
correction of the hazards.
(4) Conducting review of incidents resulting in work-
related deaths, injuries and illnesses and of complaints
regarding health and safety hazards made by committee members
or other employees.
(5) Conducting follow-up evaluations of newly
implemented health and safety equipment or health and safety
procedures to assess effectiveness.
(6) Establishing a system to allow the committee members
to obtain safety-related proposals, reports of hazards or
other information directly from individuals involved in the
operation of the workplace.
(7) Developing operating procedures, including rules or
bylaws prescribing the committees' duties.
(8) Developing and maintaining membership lists.
(9) Developing a written agenda for meetings.
(10) Maintaining committee meeting attendance lists.
(11) Taking and maintaining minutes of a committee
meeting that the employer shall review. Copies of minutes
shall be posted or made available for all employees and shall
be sent to each committee member.
(12) Ensuring that the reports, evaluations and
proposals of the committees become part of the minutes of the
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meeting which shall include:
(i) Inspection reports.
(ii) Reports on specific hazards and corrective
measures taken.
(iii) Reports on workplace injuries or illnesses.
(iv) Management responses to committee reports.
(e) Committee meetings.--
(1) A quorum of committee members shall meet at least
monthly. A quorum shall consist of at least two-thirds
membership being present.
(2) All decisions made by the committee at a meeting
shall be made by a majority vote.
(f) Committee member training.--The employer shall provide
adequate, annual training programs for each committee member.
Committee member training shall at a minimum address:
(1) Hazard detection and inspection.
(2) Accident and illness prevention and investigation,
including substance abuse awareness and prevention training,
safety committee structure and operation.
(3) Other health and safety concerns specific to the
business of the employer.
(g) Committee training records.--An employer shall provide
verification of trainer qualifications to the industry workers'
rights coordinator appointed under subsection (j) and supplying,
as necessary, documentation supporting individual trainer
qualifications. The employer shall maintain written records of
facility health and safety committee training including:
(1) The names of committee members trained.
(2) The dates of training.
(3) The training time period.
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(4) The training methodology.
(5) The names and credentials of personnel conducting
the training.
(6) The names of training organizations sponsoring
training, if applicable.
(7) The training location.
(8) The training topics.
(h) Interference prohibited.--No employer may interfere with
the selection of employee representatives to serve on the
committee or the ability for employee representatives to perform
the duties authorized under this section.
(i) Loss of pay prohibited during training.--An employer
shall permit committee members to attend a training without loss
of pay.
(j) Industry workers' rights coordinator.--
(1) The secretary shall appoint in the department an
industry workers' rights coordinator to help enforce this
section.
(2) The coordinator shall review and investigate
complaints and make recommendations on worker health and
safety standards of employers in this Commonwealth.
(3) An employer shall provide the coordinator full
access to facility operations at times that employees are
performing job-related duties at the facility.
(4) The coordinator, either on the coordinator's
initiative or in response to a complaint, shall investigate
an employer's compliance with this section.
Section 6. Public health emergency response.
(a) General rule.--After a declaration of a public health
emergency, in consultation with the Secretary of Health, the
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department shall create and publish, in English, Spanish and any
language spoken by at least 5% of the workforce in this
Commonwealth, a model infectious disease exposure prevention
plan and a model infectious disease exposure prevention standard
to address the public health emergency specific to the
meatpacking and food processing industry to prevent infectious
disease exposure and spread, and to protect employees and the
food chain from exposure to infectious disease.
(b) Plan contents.--
(1) Each model infectious disease exposure prevention
plan and model infectious disease exposure prevention
standard shall take into account the types of risks present
at industry facilities including:
(i) A facility's maximum occupancy.
(ii) The proximity of workstations to each other and
the proximity of employees to each other.
(iii) Access to personal protective equipment.
(iv) The ability to socially distance while
performing job duties.
(2) Each model infectious disease exposure prevention
plan and model infectious disease exposure prevention
standard shall take into consideration all applicable
Federal, State and local established standards.
(3) The models shall include establishing requirements
on procedures and methods for:
(i) Employee health screenings.
(ii) Face coverings at no cost to the employee.
(iii) Required personal protective equipment
applicable to the industry for eyes, face, head and
extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices and
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protective shields and barriers that shall be provided,
used and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition
at the expense of the employer.
(iv) Accessible facility hand hygiene stations to
maintain healthy hand hygiene and that employers provide
adequate break times for workers to use hand-washing
facilities as needed.
(v) Regular cleaning and disinfecting of shared
equipment and frequently touched surfaces, including
workstations, equipment, door handles, railings and all
surfaces and washable items in other high-risk areas
including restrooms, dining areas, break rooms and locker
rooms.
(vi) Effective social distancing for employees as
the risk of illness may warrant, including options for
social distancing including sign postage or markers,
increasing physical space between workers at the
facility, limiting the maximum occupancy of facilities,
reconfiguring spaces where workers congregate or
implementing flexible work hours such as staggered
shifts.
(vii) Compliance with mandatory or precautionary
orders of isolation or quarantine that have been issued
to employees.
(viii) Compliance with applicable engineering
controls including proper air flow, exhaust ventilation
or other special design requirements.
(ix) Designation of one or more supervisory
employees to enforce compliance with the infectious
disease exposure prevention plan and other Federal, State
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or local guidance related to avoidance of spreading an
infectious disease as applicable to employees.
(x) Compliance with applicable laws, rules,
regulations, standards or guidance on notification to
employees and relevant Federal, State and local agencies
of potential exposure to infectious disease at the
facility.
(xi) Verbal review of infectious disease standards,
employer policies and employee rights under this section,
including an employee's right to an interpreter for the
purpose of reviewing infectious disease standards.
(xii) Anti-retaliation provisions.
Section 7. Employer duties during public health emergency.
(a) Adoption of plan.--
(1) Upon declaration of a public health emergency, an
employer shall adopt an infectious disease exposure
prevention plan either through adopting the model infectious
disease exposure prevention plan developed by the department
under section 6 that applies to the employer's industry or by
designing, adopting and implementing an infectious disease
exposure prevention plan that equals or exceeds the model
plan developed by the department.
(2) If the employer does not adopt the model plan, the
adopted plan shall be made in consultation with the designee
from the collective bargaining agreement, if any, and the
facility health and safety committee.
(b) Distribution of plan to employees.--
(1) Employers shall distribute, in writing, the
infectious disease prevention plan adopted under subsection
(a) to each employee in the language that the employee
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speaks, for each language spoken by at least 5% of the
workforce.
(2) The infectious disease prevention plan shall be
posted in visible and prominent locations within the
facility, including break areas, restrooms, dining areas and
locker rooms.
(c) Adverse action prohibited.--No employer or employer's
agent shall threaten, retaliate against or take adverse action
against an employee for:
(1) Exercising the employee's rights under this section
or under the applicable infectious disease exposure
prevention plan.
(2) Reporting violations of this section or the
applicable infectious disease exposure prevention plan to a
Federal, State or local government entity, public officer or
elected official.
(3) Reporting an infectious disease exposure concern to,
or seeking assistance or intervention with respect to
airborne infectious disease exposure concerns, to the
employer, Federal, State or local government entity, public
officer or elected official.
(4) Refusing to work where the employee reasonably
believes, in good faith, that the work exposes the employee,
or other workers or the public, to an unreasonable risk of
exposure to an infectious disease due to the existence of
working conditions that are inconsistent with law, rule,
policy or order of a governmental entity, including the
minimum standards provided by the model infectious disease
exposure prevention standard, if:
(i) the employee, another employee or employee
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representative notified the employer of the inconsistent
working conditions and the employer failed to cure the
conditions; or
(ii) the employer had or should have had reason to
know about the inconsistent working conditions and
maintained the inconsistent working conditions.
Section 8. Public health emergency paid sick time.
(a) Adoption of policy required.--
(1) During a public health emergency, an employer shall
adopt a paid sick time policy that provides not less than 80
additional hours to an employee to be used for an employee's
or immediate family member's exposure or infection to the
infectious disease related to the declaration.
(2) Public health emergency paid sick time shall be paid
at the regular rate of pay received.
(3) An employer may not require an employee to use paid
sick time provided under section 4 before utilizing public
health emergency paid sick time as provided under this
section.
(4) Public health emergency paid sick time may not be
carried forward and shall cease at the expiration of the
declaration of the public health emergency.
(5) An employer may not penalize an employee who
exercises the employee's rights under this section.
(b) (Reserved).
Section 9. Enforcement and penalties.
(a) Employer failure to comply.--
(1) Upon investigation and a determination by the
department that an employer failed to comply with the
provisions of section 5, the department may assess a civil
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penalty of $500 per day until the failure is cured. If the
employer does not cure the failure within 10 days, the
department may assess a civil penalty of not more than
$10,000 per day for every day exceeding 10 days.
(2) Upon investigation and determination that an
employer has failed to comply with the provisions of section
7, the department may assess a civil penalty of $500 per day
that the employer fails to adopt an infectious disease
exposure prevention plan, not to exceed $100,000 for failure
to comply with an adopted infectious disease exposure
prevention plan.
(b) Civil actions.--
(1) An employee may bring a civil action seeking
injunctive relief in a court of competent jurisdiction
against an employer alleged to have violated the infectious
disease exposure prevention plan in a manner that creates a
substantial probability that death or serious physical harm
could result from a condition which exists, unless the
employer did not and could not, with the exercise of
reasonable diligence, know of the presence of the violation.
(2) The court shall have jurisdiction to restrain the
violation and to order all appropriate relief, including
enjoining the conduct of the employer, awarding costs and
reasonable attorney fees to the employee and ordering payment
of liquidated damages of no greater than $10,000, unless the
employer can demonstrate a good faith belief that the
established and implemented health and safety measures were
in compliance with the applicable infectious disease exposure
prevention standard.
Section 10. Rules and regulations.
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The department may promulgate rules and regulations as
necessary to carry out the provisions of this act.
Section 11. Collective bargaining agreements.
Nothing in this act shall be construed to diminish the
rights, privileges or remedies of an employee under a collective
bargaining agreement. The provisions of this act may be waived
by a collective bargaining agreement provided that, for the
waiver to be valid, the waiver explicitly references the section
of this act that is waived.
Section 12. Abrogation of regulations.
Any and all regulations are abrogated to the extent of any
inconsistency with this act.
Section 13. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 90 days.
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