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Trump’s Order to Reopen Meat Plants Meets Major Pushback From Employees and Unions

Plus, Chick-fil-A is launching meal kits, and more news to start your day

Shoppers browse in the meat section at a grocery store Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A local sheriff also calls Tyson’s response to COVID-19 “inept, reactionary and dysfunctional”

Earlier this week, President Trump signed an executive order for meatpacking plants to stay open and operational, despite being hotbeds for COVID-19 contraction. Meat plants across the country have announced temporary closures due to worker illness and sanitation issues, which could possibly lead to a meat shortage, something big agriculture and the federal government want to avoid. However, the alternative is forcing workers into cramped conditions and putting them at risk while they handle our food — and workers, unions, and anyone who wants to flatten the curve don’t think this is a good idea.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union sent a letter to the National Governors Association, urging them to protect its 250,000 meat packing workers. Workers are worried for their health and safety if they are compelled to return to work. “I don’t think people are going to go back in there,” a worker at Tyson’s Waterloo, Iowa plant, who is currently recovering after testing positive for coronavirus, told CNN. “I’m still trying to figure out: What is [Trump] going to do, force them to stay open? Force people to go to work?”

The Sheriff of Waterloo, Iowa also spoke out against the push to reopen plants, telling Rachel Maddow that Tyson Foods has shown “inept, reactionary and dysfunctional responses” to calls to shut down the Waterloo plant. “We know that 90% of those tested is because of the Waterloo plant,” said Sheriff Tony Thompson. “It incenses me.”

Congresswoman Alma Adams, who chairs the Workplace Protections Subcommittee, also spoke out against the order. “On Workers’ Memorial Day of all days, the Trump administration shouldn’t decide which workers will be safe and which workers will be in mortal danger,” she told Bloomberg. But given that 30 million people have applied for unemployment in the past six weeks, workers may feel they have no choice but to return, even if it costs them their health.

And in other news...

  • A grifter bought a whole restaurant with a fake $400K check. [Vice]
  • If you’re really missing Chick-fil-A, it’s now offering meal kits. However, the only thing you’ll be able to make is Chicken Parm, which defeats the point of Chick-fil-A. [CNN Business]
  • Cosi is suing the SBA over the requirement that companies can’t receive PPP funds if they are in bankruptcy. [RB]
  • Yum! Brands’s net income is down 68%. [FBN]
  • Black-owned businesses are harder hit, and are less likely to get PPP loans. [NBC]

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