As worker deaths from COVID-19 rise at American meat plants, Donald Trump plans to order them to stay open, provide only federal “guidance” for safety procedures and immunize them from any lawsuits if they fail to properly protect workers.
April 29, 2020

The coronavirus toll on meat plants is staggering. From Politico:

Meatpacking plants have become incubators for the virus as employees work side-by-side in dangerous conditions. Twenty meatpacking and processing workers have died from coronavirus, and at least 6,500 have been affected, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

At least 22 plants processing meat from pork to chicken have closed at some point after clusters of employees tested positive for Covid-19, according to UFCW.

Trump insists there’s plenty of supply, even as farmers have been euthanizing hogs because of the backup at slaughterhouses, Politico also reported. On Sunday, Tyson foods warned the food supply chain is breaking. But their own lack of worker protection had something to do with the crisis, C&L noted.

Now, President Death is trying to look like he's protecting workers while making them more vulnerable.

The government will also provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance, according to [a person familiar with the matter].

OSHA has chosen not to impose mandatory safety rules and instead only issued recommendations. On Sunday, the agency released new guidance to intended to shield workers from infection.

In other words, Trump wants the government to tell meat plants what they should do to protect workers but can’t be bothered to make sure the workers are actually protected. If they’re not protected, it shouldn't be the employers’ problem, either.

Maybe even worse, The Washington Post said Trump's order would actually "undercut newly issued federal health guidelines designed to put space between plant workers." The only potential bright spot is that Trump may not have the authority either to force plants to reopen or to protect them from immunity, according to The Post.

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