Report: Meatpacking Industry Asked Federal Regulators For Support To Stay Open
“The industry ran to the White House as meat and poultry workers all across the country were getting sick and dying to say, ‘Let us stay open and have USDA intimidate health departments so they can’t close us down because our profits are more important than workers’ health and community’s health,’” said a former chief of staff of OSHA.
Emails Show The Meatpacking Industry Drafted An Executive Order To Keep Plants Open
In late April, as COVID-19 raced through meatpacking plants sickening and killing workers, President Donald Trump issued a controversial executive order aimed at keeping the plants open to supply food to American consumers. It was a relief for the nation’s meatpackers who were being urged, or ordered, to suspend production by local health officials worried about the spread of the coronavirus. But emails obtained by ProPublica show that the meat industry may have had a hand in its own White House rescue: Just a week before the order was issued, the meat industry’s trade group drafted an executive order that bears striking similarities to the one the president signed. (Grabell and Yeung, 9/14)
COVID-19: Meat Plants Sought Feds' Protection From Local Health Depts.
Adam Pulver, a Public Citizen attorney, said the “degree of collaboration” between Trump administration officials and industry in the emails is “astounding.” “As outbreaks continue to emerge in meatpacking plants, it is stunning to see the cavalier attitude officials took to the health and safety of workers in the early part of the pandemic,” he said. Julie Ann Potts, the president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute, said her group and many other trade organizations “routinely suggest legislative language.” (Chadde, Bagenstose and Axon, 9/14)