May 27, 2021

Democrats to reintroduce bill to prevent line speed increases during Covid-19

Democrats Sen. Cory Booker and Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Bennie Thompson are planning to reintroduce legislation Thursday that would ban meat and poultry plants from raising their line processing speeds during the pandemic, addressing an issue that advocates say has jeopardized worker safety. Meatpacking plants have been major hot spots for the virus, with some having to shut down after widespread outbreaks among workers who typically work side-by-side in dangerous conditions.

As of March, at least 88,190 meat processing and farm workers have tested positive for Covid-19 and at least 376 workers have died, according to the nonprofit Food and Environment Reporting Network. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, outbreaks of Covid-19 have surged in meatpacking plants across the country, where the majority of workers are from immigrant communities and communities of color,” Booker said in a statement on the bill. “It is critically important that we continue to prioritize the safety of frontline workers and consumers over the profits of large multinational meatpacking corporations.” Read more