Trump Fails Workers at Meatpacking Plants
May 13, 2020
Throughout his presidency, Trump has failed workers. This has become particularly dangerous as Trump sides with large meat corporations who have failed to protect their workforce, creating some of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the country.
Instead of looking out for workers, Trump is focused on keeping large corporations happy without holding them accountable for their failures to protect employees.
TRUMP: “Well, as you know, we just worked with the meat processors, and if you think about it, a form of delivery. … And the big companies that you’ve been reading about, they are so thrilled, they’re so happy.”
Washington Post: “Three of the nation’s largest meat processors failed to provide protective gear to all workers, and some employees say they were told to continue working in crowded plants even while sick as the coronavirus spread around the country and turned the facilities into infection hot spots, a Washington Post investigation has found.”
Bloomberg: “The coronavirus spread at more than twice the national rate in U.S. counties with major meatpacking plants in the first week after President Donald Trump issued an executive order directing that they be reopened.”
Trump’s health and agriculture secretaries sided with meat corporations over workers by blaming outbreaks at meat plants on the living situations of workers, echoing talking points of the large corporations.
PERDUE: “I must give compliments to both Smithfield and other processors that are working extremely hard to keep their workers safe. … But you also need to know that many of these workers are immigrants, they live in large extended family settings, and sometimes almost communal-type organizations there where there’s a lot of spread outside of the plants as well.”
AZAR: “Azar faulted workers’ ‘home and social’ conditions for meatpacking outbreaks”
BuzzFeed News: “Smithfield Foods Is Blaming ‘Living Circumstances In Certain Cultures’ For One Of America’s Largest COVID-19 Clusters”
Trump and Pence refuse to protect workers and have instead downplayed the disastrous consequences of coronavirus outbreaks on meat plant employees sacrificing their safety to keep America fed.
TRUMP: “The meatpacking plants now are doing very well. There’s great testing around those plants. And we’re finding out who had the problem. They’re being quarantined. And the meatpacking is moving along very nicely.”
PENCE: “Just hours after a labor union reported what may be the first poultry-worker deaths associated with the coronavirus in the U.S., Vice President Mike Pence urged American food workers to continue to ‘show up and do your job.’”
Workers have been abandoned by Trump — and they know it.
Nebraska meat plant worker’s message to Trump on his executive order: “I just want him to know, they say, we are human and we have families that care about us and we care about them, too.”
Iowa meat plant worker: “My faith in this administration has never been strong and is nonexistent currently. I wanna know what these added ‘liability protections’ are going to be.”
Texas meat plant worker: “The people who do show up to work are afraid to get sick, but we don’t have much of a choice.”