When Will “Executives” From Tyson and the Administration Visit Frontline Workers?
President Trump’s executive order forcing meat processing workers back to unsafe jobs without proper protections – while Republicans in Congress push for new liability protections for such companies – distills the Trump/GOP view that the profits of corporations matter more than the health and life of frontline workers.
Consider this: earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Trump’s executive order “followed weeks of lobbying behind the scenes and in public by meat companies led by Tyson Foods.” Yesterday, local Indiana news outlet WISH-TV8 reported that nearly 900 employees at a single Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Logansport, IN had tested positive for COVID-19.
While the plant is currently closed because of the outbreak, Trump’s executive order and Tyson’s lobbying pressure is now forcing into overdrive plans to reopen that plant. As the local news outlet reports:
“Cass County Commissioner Ryan Browning has been working with Tyson and the health department to develop a workable reopening plan that has been thrown into high gear by President Donald Trump’s executive order to reopen meat processing plants shuttered by the virus.
‘So there is some worry there that might force them to flip a switch and go but we are continuing with our plan,’ said Browning.’”
In an interesting coincidence, the President’s emissary traveling the country to tout the administration’s perfect response to the Covid-19 crisis, Vice President Mike Pence was near the affected community of Logansport – just 24 miles away in Kokomo, IN yesterday.
The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
The ‘executives’ in our country should be ashamed of themselves. Tyson executives expose workers to a lethal disease while encouraging Trump to compel plants to stay open. Meanwhile, Trump’s executive order forces workers to labor in unsafe conditions. No mandate for testing, PPE, or paid leave if sick. Nothing.
Most importantly, there is no leadership. Pressure to conduct tests at the Logansport factory reveals the spread of the coronavirus to the Tyson 900.
If the Trump Administration is so confident that plants like the Logansport facility are safe to re-open, then Mike Pence should have visited the Tyson plant. What better way to show his confidence in the executive order than by rolling up his sleeves and standing alongside the Tyson workers? With or without a mask, Vice President Pence could have shown us that he is willing to put his own health – and that of his family – on the line, just like he and President Trump are willing to put the health of workers on the line.
The reality is that Pence, like his boss, see the meat and poultry workers, many of them immigrants and refugees, as expendable. This is not only short-sighted, it’s cruel.