Meat Packers to Stay Open Under New Presidential Order
If you are anything like us, you have read the headline and you are wondering how this is possible. Sure, there are some who might believe that meat packing plants are being forced to close by overzealous local government officials. In reality, this is not the actual truth.
Employees at these plants are falling ill in record numbers. If President Trump decides that these plants need to be reopened, what happens next? It’s not like they can be staffed by workers who are infected with COVID-19. These plants cause the disease to spread even more quickly.
That’s why we are skeptical about this plan. There is far more to the story than what meets the eye, though. The Tyson company is currently embroiled in a massive battle. The public relations nightmare is unfolding now and it has been brutal. The Tyson facility in Waterloo, Iowa is one of the largest in the country.
Unfortunately, CNN reports indicate that hundreds of workers have already contracted the virus as a result of the insistence on remaining open. Meat packing facilities like this one contribute to the spread of the virus because all of the workers are forced to exist in such close proximity to one another. One Tyson worker’s estimate was harrowing.
According to this employee, workers are spending their days within two feet of each other. The social distancing guidelines that have been put into place cannot be followed in these instances. Tyson claims to have taken the proper steps to improve these working conditions but how much can they really do? The job is inherently dangerous when you look at it from this sort of viewpoint.
The plant can be sanitized every day and workers can be given the tools that they need to remain relatively safe. That is all well and good but what happens when one worker is infected and continues to show up each day? It is only a matter of time before the disease is given the chance to spread like wildfire and this is not something that anyone should want.
“I don’t think Tyson gives two sh*ts about their employees. I really don’t,” Thompson told CNN…
There are “2,700 employees, three shifts, and they only cleaned it once a day. This is after they knew that they already had positive tests coming out of that plant,” Thompson told CNN. “There was no enforcement of PPE, there was no requirement. In fact, some people we saw walking around actually had masks, but they were wearing them around their neck,” he said…
The employees said other crowded areas, such as the locker rooms and hallways, were not being modified in any way to promote social distancing.
“We’re all extremely congested, especially at the shift exchange in the locker room,” a third Tyson employee told CNN. She is a production line worker.
Companies like this one are simply tap dancing around the real issue. A prolonged shutdown may not be ideal when it comes to food production but what happens when workers start to infect each other? If these plants stay open, they are directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans.
No plant owner is going to want to take that level of responsibility for what is happening and understandably so. Who wants to have this kind of blood on their hands? President Trump can say or do whatever he wants but he cannot force meat packing plants to stay open and take the sort of major risks that will lead to the collapse of society as we know it.
It may seem outrageous to say but these companies are not inclined to care about their employees until it is too late. The continued spread of COVID-19 in the towns and cities where these meat packing plants are located proves that. The plants were only cleaned and sanitized once infections started to take place. It was a stopgap measure designed to keep the plants open, while reducing the owners’ level of responsibility.
Social distancing simply cannot be provided in these environments and it is impossible to ignore this reality. Can you believe that Tyson was not willing to make masks mandatory until April 7? Smithfield has already experienced a massive outbreak and experts believe that Tyson needs to remain closed, so that they do not follow suit.
All the bosses care about is continued production and while they do not wish to be blamed for the spread of the virus, the bottom line is all that matters to them. Tyson management is trying to battle the perception that they do not care but things are not going well so far. John Tyson even took out full page ads, fretting over the potential issues that are going to take place with food supply chains.
Meat packing plants have made it clear that they are only going to close their doors if they are forced to do so. That’s what makes the presidential order such a crucial turning point. Are these plants going to do what is right and remain closed until further notice? Or will they go against the grain and risk the health of the rest of the nation? One thing is for sure: this is one battle that is about to be fought in the media. The conveyor belts are going to keep moving, one way or another.