Subcommittee investigates meatpackers’ COVID actions
The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis has launched an investigation into the coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants across the country that resulted in deaths of more than 250 employees. Committee Chairman Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina sent letters to OSHA, Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, and JBS USA.
Clyburn claims OSHA failed to adequately carry out its responsibility for enforcing worker safety laws at meatpacking plants across the country resulting in preventable infections and deaths.
The investigation follows reports that nearly 54,000 workers at 569 meatpacking plants in the US have tested positive for the virus, and at least 270 died. The CDC calls meatpacking plants a source for “rapid transmission” and more than two-thirds of employees at facilities are Black or Hispanic, and almost half of the employees live in low-income families.
Under the Trump administration, OSHA issued only eight citations and less than $80,000 in total penalties for coronavirus-related violations.
The Select Subcommittee is seeking documentation from OSHA and each of the companies related to coronavirus infections and deaths at plants. It is also seeking documentation of the enforcement of worker protections by the Trump administration.