The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
Rural Community Workers Alliance
LOCATION: Milan, Missouri
The goal of the Rural Community Workers Alliance (RCWA) is to build and strengthen the engagement of low-wage immigrant and refugee workers in their local communities. They seek to address the root causes of the problems faced by its members, secure improved community health systems and services, and ensure workplace safety for food industry workers.
RCWA has collaborated with other groups and agencies to improve the ergonomic standards in meat and poultry processing plants at a national level. For instance, they brought processing plant workers together on several occasions to continue to pressure the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to conduct an inspection of the Milan, Missouri processing plant, resulting in OSHA carrying out two inspections. RCWA has also advocated workers facing poor work conditions including sexual harassment, verbal abuse from supervisors, and retaliatory firings for speaking up. They do a great deal of outreach to isolated workers around issues related to voting access and COVID-19, including providing vaccination assistance and voting education.
RCWA has been around for quite some time and it has been working to address the issues that workers are facing for several years. However, the alliance is not alone in facing these issues; they are in close partnership with many other organizations and communities, one of which is UUSC, which helps their constituents’ voices be heard. RCWA has demonstrated an ability to effectively organize and connect the struggles and conditions inside meat processing plants with those in the community.
Image Credit: Rural Community Workers Alliance