Meatpacking Industry Falling To Its Knees Amid Coronavirus

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Tyson, JBS, Cargill, Smithfield Face Backlash 

Cristal M Clark 

Amid Coronavirus outbreaks, the meatpacking industry is being brought to its knees due to forced shutdowns, sick workers and horrendous working conditions. The meatpacking industry by the way already had been notorious for poor working conditions even before the coronavirus pandemic. These plants have been called out numerous times for refusing to let their employees use the bathroom, even to wash their hands. 

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Part of the problem the industry has faced as a whole are language barriers, which could have been avoided had the plants demanded that workers in this country know and understand the English language period. 

Other issues are more simple but not any less problematic, workers show up to work sick, they do not have sick time and were already so poorly paid they choose to work while sick because they need the money. The reason the workers are not paid well is because American owned businesses are for profit so they take advantage of a workforce that is less prone to fight back and demand things like better wages, sick pay and personal protective gear. 

The industry didn’t really offer that until now because some plants were forced to shut down due to worker illnesses. Tyson is now saying we are going to see food shortage issues however experts disagree with that stating that if given the choice, the industry will choose to produce rather than stop for too long. Which doesn’t solve the problem and it does not protect workers. 

But how does that translate to the consumer? Experts say we are in no danger of getting the virus through possibly contaminated meat but how do they know right? They continually tell us they are still learning about the virus and do not yet know enough about it. 

Now the industry is pointing fingers at the government and the CDC for not issuing guidance with regards to the virus but the truth is that the industry has for years not operated in a clean safe way, has forced its workers to endure unsafe and in unclean working conditions. 

So my question is simple, why did it take a virus to expose the meatpacking industries unsafe working conditions instead of the FDA and the US Government figuring it out prior to Covid-19 and is the FDA going to step up and enforce change within the industry? 

Cristal M Clark

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