Meatpacking union calls for protections for workers as production falls due to closures

UFCW estimates 13 meatpacking and food processing workers have died of COVID-19
Posted at 6:22 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 19:22:14-04

WASHINGTON (KMTV) — A meatpacking union that represents 1.3 million workers across the country is calling for additional protections for its workers.

Those protections would also help protect the nation's supply of pork and beef, the United Food and Commercial Workers union said in a letter to the White House's coronavirus task force.

Closures of plants due to COVID-19 have reduced pork slaughter capacity by 25 percent and beef by 10 percent, according to the union.

In the letter, they called for a halt on line speed waivers. The USDA approved 11 in the first two weeks of April, UFCW said. They also called for the workers to be prioritized for testing, asked for personal protective equipment, and social distancing.