COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in meat processing plants across the country. 6500 meatpacking workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine, and at least 20 have already died of the virus. Nearly two dozen meatpacking facilities have closed (some temporarily) after the coronavirus began spreading among employees.
I am a meat eater. I do not want to buy meat at the expense of workers’ health and of their very lives. This governmental action is criminal. I hope with all my heart that the GOP is voted out this November & that a new government will address these worker issues. Employees are entitled to a living wage, benefits, health care, & safety equipment. I am willing to pay more for meat & the over-paid CEO’s & other administrators should be willing to take generous pay cuts.
They obviously don’t care about their employees so there need to be regulations to open their eyes as to what needs to be done to address these issues.
I suggest that people consider eating less meat. Or people consider buying from a local farmer at a farmer’s market. These are not local butchers. This is meat as industry and serves to make the rich bastards like Tyson rich and exploit workers.
These workers are almost literally being fed to the meat grinder, not to mention the animals' slaughter. As with fossil fuels, what should be seen as a moment for real change is only being reflexively resisted by industry leaders and their executives.
The (Republican) governor of Iowa stated that "If you're an employer and you offer to bring your employee back to work and they decide not to, that's a voluntary quit". That might be true under Iowa's current unemployment rules, but it doesn't have to be. Unemployment eligibility requirements are determined by each state, so even if Trump orders meat packing plants to remain open, employees would not be forced to choose between safety and their jobs if state leadership decided to extend their unemployment safety net.
It seems unlikely that a Republican governor would take steps to override Trump, but states that are controlled by Democrats (or by Republicans who still remember how to think for themselves) should still be able to offer unemployment benefits to meat packing workers who are otherwise unprotected at the federal level. Doing so would be an opportunity to demonstrate leadership that is sorely lacking at the federal level.
The 1% meat biz will make bucks til the corporation protected biz folds from lack of clients like you and me being able to buy the stuff.
The hallmark of the Covid-19 pandemic response in America?
Tomorrow a local farm is selling pork products.
Screw Kroger and Smithfield. I am buying from them. I suggest if you have that option. Do it.
Let me add that this goes to much of what I’ve been saying about farmers markets and the like— there must be a movement back to local processing and farming. I’m relatively young but my understanding is that butcher shops used to be everywhere and they employed people in solid middle income jobs and they were locally owned. Corporate farming and meat processing became necessary to make the food cheaper and higher profit , but farmers markets shouldn’t only be for the well off and local farming shouldn’t be Just to supply those markets. Same for meat— local production is safer and better for the economy.
I don’t necessarily agree that the only path forward is closure for these factories- however, these companies have a responsibility and an obligation to ensure their workers have substantial PPE and other protections. These companies are not small mom and pop operations- their resources are vast, their employees are not commodities like their product.
The American public is willingly ignorant of where their food comes from and it’s only been thru extremist measures that awareness has been raised in the past. This time, however, the management of the meat packing plants seem completely oblivious that the horrors they are forcing their employees to endure is not going on behind a curtain. America is watching. Those workers are us and we are them. We can all imagine being forced into laboring in unclean & unsafe environments. The further they press this situation, the worse it will look to the rest of us & the worse it will be for them. They would have been better off sitting back & allowing the food supply to dwindle a bit. Basic economics is the lower the supply the greater the demand but the opposite is also true. And oversupply that comes with a grotesque & macabre reality such as is happening right now, is the most effective appetite suppressant available.
GOP genocide against the poor and immigrants. To force re-opening, the company owners should be required to be handcuffed to the most dangerous position on the assembly like for a minimum of ten days.
All of a sudden the government is concerned about "the supply of protein"? This is about protecting political campaign donors; if they manufactured lampshades we'd be hearing about the need to maintain the nation's supply of lampshades.