'I can't see all these people going back into work': Meat packing employees sceptical that many will return to plants, despite executive order

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President signs executive order forcing factories to stay open under Defence Production Act

World | The Independent

Meat plant workers are reportedly predicting that employees won’t show up to work after Donald Trump announced an executive order to compel the factories to remain open amidst the coronavirus.

On Tuesday the president announced he intends to sign an executive order to force the industry to stay open under the Defence Production Act.

“All I know is, this is crazy to me, because I can’t see all these people going back into work,” Donald, a worker at Tyson’s Waterloo, Iowa facility told CNN.

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“I don’t think people are going to go back in there,” he told the outlet.

Signing the executive order under the Defence Production Act means plants will be listed as critical infrastructure to the country and will be compelled to continue production.

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CNN Business reported that they had spoken to employees in several Tyson plants who do not want to be named for fear of losing their jobs.

“All in all, it can be a good thing if done right,” one worker at Tyson’s Waterloo, Iowa, facility person told the broadcaster. “But 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.”

Mr Trump said on announcement of the order that it would also provide liability protections to employers if an employee was to get sick from Covid-19, ABC News reported. However, it was said to be unclear what these may include.

“I just don’t know how they’re going to do it when there are people dying and getting really sick,” an employee of Tyson’s Independence, Iowa, plant said. “Who’s to say people are even gonna show up to work?”

Donald, who is reportedly currently recovering after testing positive for the virus is one of the many hundreds of workers in meat plants to have contracted the disease.

Protection for plant employees has been a huge concern across the US, at least 20 meatpacking and processing workers who contracted the disease have died so far according to an estimate by The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union on Tuesday.

The order came after Tyson foods, the second-largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork in the world, expressed fear they would need to continue to shut a large proportion of their facilities amidst the pandemic.

A number of other meat production companies across the country announced closures of plants due to the pandemic, possibly severely jeopardising meat supplies across the country.

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“The food supply chain is breaking,” Tyson chairman John Tyson wrote in a full-page advertisement addressing plant closures across the US.

Employees in the industry are thought to be at high risk of catching and spreading the virus due to close proximity and hazardous working conditions in plants.

“I’m still trying to figure out: What is he going to do, force them to stay open? Force people to go to work?” Donald asked CNN.

The novel coronavirus has infected over 1,000,000 people across the united states and led to more than 59,0000 deaths, according to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University.

  • 'I can't see all these people going back into work': Meat packing employees sceptical that many will return to plants, despite executive order photo


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