Chiewelthap Mariar was about three years old when his family, Christians from South Sudan, fled the aggression of the Muslim-led government in the north. As Ted Genoways writes in FERN’s latest story, published with The New Republic, Chiewelthap was shot and killed at the plant on Jan. 9 by a Guymon police officer, apparently during a dispute with his managers over his work assignment.
By disregarding the health and safety of their employees, some of the most prominent companies in the food industry have created situations that led to workers being injured or killed on the job, according to a new report by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), an advocacy group.(No paywall)
A bill introduced in the Senate this week would improve working conditions and whistleblower protections for meatpacking workers while also cracking down on monopolistic practices in the industry. Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, introduced the Protecting America’s Meatpacking Workers Act on Tuesday. In a press release, he called it a “critical piece in transforming our food system into one that is rooted in resilience, fairness, and justice.” (No paywall)
Five large meatpackers fell staggeringly short of their duty to protect their workers during the pandemic, with at least 269 deaths and at least 59,000 infections from Covid-19 among their employees — roughly three times more than thought — said Rep. James Clyburn, chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Wednesday. (No paywall)
Following what the White House called "a dangerously hot summer," Labor Secretary Marty Walsh announced on Monday the first step toward a federal standard to protect workers from exposure to excessive heat on the job. The work on a heat safety rule would be part of a government-wide initiative to lessen the impact of hotter weather, a feature of climate change.
After months of delay, the Biden administration on Thursday released a rule dictating how employers in the healthcare sector should protect workers from the spread of Covid-19. The exclusion of meatpacking, food processing, farm, and grocery retail workers from the new workplace standards sparked an outcry from worker advocacy groups and unions.(No paywall)
In the early days of his administration, President Biden directed the nation’s workplace safety regulator to explore enforceable Covid-19 standards to better protect workers from the threat of the coronavirus. But months later, the new standards have not been issued, worrying advocates concerned about the health of vulnerable workers.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis launched an investigation Monday into the spread of Covid-19 at meatpacking plants during the course of the pandemic. The committee sent letters to the country's top meatpackers — JBS, Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods — as well as to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requesting scores of information on the entities' management of the spread of the virus among meatpacking workers, with a response deadline of Feb. 15.(No paywall)
The Labor Department, in issuing stronger worker-safety guidelines called on employers to conduct a hazard analysis and implement measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus on the job. The recommendations include the use of face masks and reconfiguring work spaces so workers are at least six feet apart.
The nation's top workplace safety enforcer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, will explore issuing enforceable workplace safety standards to protect workers from the spread of Covid-19 as part of President Joe Biden's new pandemic strategy. Labor advocates and congressional Democrats have pushed for enforceable standards for the duration of the pandemic, arguing that the existing voluntary guidelines for employers don't go far enough to protect workers.
As a candidate, President-elect Joe Biden ripped into the Trump administration’s handling of workplace inspections during the Covid-19 pandemic. And he endorsed a range of policies that would aid food system workers, from raising raising frontline worker wages to releasing enforceable workplace standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Now, within his first 100 days in office, Biden should make good on his promises, workplace advocates say. (No paywall)
The government's worker-safety agency "has been prevented from using its full range of tools to protect workers from Covid-19," said President-elect Biden on the 50th anniversary of creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. "The number of OSHA inspectors is at its lowest level since 1975, while millions of essential workers are working to keep the country functioning through the pandemic."
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been heavily criticized for its handling of workplace Covid-19 outbreaks, California and a handful of other states have implemented more rigorous workplace safety regulations that experts say better protect food and farm workers from the virus. (No paywall)
Over the past six months, Covid-19 has spread rapidly through the workforces of farms, food processing facilities, and meatpacking plants in nearly every state, infecting tens of thousands. Yet determining the exact number of workers who have contracted or died from the virus is virtually impossible, because few states are publicly reporting case and death data in the food and farm sectors.(No paywall)
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden joined a chorus of voices demanding stronger workplace protections for meatpacking workers at a virtual town hall on Monday. Workers – falling ill from covid-19 – deserve a safer workplace, higher pay, and immigration protections, lawmakers …
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Koch Foods for multiple serious violations at one of its poultry processing plants. The fines total more than $208,000.
Federal workplace records show that during the first nine months of 2015, "workers in meatpacking plants owned by Tyson Foods averaged at least one amputation a month," says Harvest Public Media, which credits occupational health professor Celeste Monforton for getting the data through a Freedom of Information Act request.