American meat corporations have bad reputations, and for good reason. Most famously, these companies have reached near-supervillain status for their inhumane treatment of cattle, pigs and chickens. In the industry, animals are confined in impossibly close quarters where they often can't move, sit, or avoid highly transmissible diseases. Employees are allowed to treat living, feeling creatures in the most groteque and torturous ways with near impunity. But new reports suggest it's not just animals that suffer in meat-packing plants. This industry quite literally doesn't care if workers live or die, and it is time Congress did something about it.
Sign the petition now to demand that Congress get behind the recent call for safety and labor rights legislation for workers in the meat industry!
A new report by the House's Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis found that even when meat companies knew their workers were at extremely high risk of catching COVID-19, they lobbied to keep their plants open. These corporations even went so far as to fabricate letters that claimed America's meat supply was at dire risk if plants temporarily shut down. As a result, health and labor officials took pressure off of the industry and former President Trump even signed an executive order which declared meat plants critical infrastructure, forcing their doors open amidst grave danger.
At least 59,000 meat-packing workers caught COVID-19, and nearly 300 died. Given how difficult Long COVID is to keep track of and measure, it is unclear just how many workers suffered permanent consequences of catching the virus. It's also unclear how many family members of workers caught COVID, too, given how contagious the virus is. On top of that, many meat-packing workers are immigrants, low-income, uninsured, or some combination of the three. These are communities who are already at an extremely high risk of severe COVID, and the industry decided profit was more important than human lives.Industry lobbyists have been manipulating the USDA for decades, and it appears that they managed to keep the Department of Labor in their pocket during the Trump Administration, too. But the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union is calling for a "comprehensive meat processing safety bill," and meaningful legislation such as this could prevent these atrocities from ever happening again. Sign the petition now to put pressure on Congress and tell them: all workers deserve dignity and protection! We must stand up to the meat industry now!