June 29, 2020
US meatpacking workers union says 93 meatpacking and food-processing workers dead from COVID-19
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said 65 meatpacking workers and 28 workers in food-processing died from COVID-19, Reuters reported.
The union said 2,300 members have been affected or exposed to the virus. Experts in the US government said COVID-19 may have infected 10 times more people in America than currently reported.
Workers in meat plans have reported absent, either quarantined or concerned that they will be infected with COVID-19 if they go back to work.
Dennis Medbourn, a union steward at the slaughterhouse said 200 out of 2,000 workers in a Tyson Foods pork plant in Logansport, Indiana have not reported to work after the plant was temporarily shut down in April due to COVID-19.
Back in April, US meat plants operated by major players such as Tyson Foods, JBS USA and Smithfield Foods were temporarily closed after thousands of meat plant workers were detected with COVID-19. As a result, US meat prices surged as supplies dwindled in grocery stores.
On April 28, US President Donald Trump announced an executive order to keep meat plants open. US meatpacker companies said they have spent tens of millions of dollars implementing COVID-19 precautions such as cleaning the plants, constructing physical dividers on the production line and other measures aimed at protecting their workers.