Poultry plants which slaughter 175 birds per minute are 10 times more likely to have COVID-19 cases than plants that slaughter 140 birds per minute.
This conclusion drawn by the Washington Post from an analysis of data collected by the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN) is also backed by academic research.
- To process 175 birds a minute, workers stand elbow to elbow and inevitably bump each other; plastic shields provided to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus offer little or no protection in this environment
- The outgoing Trump administration wants to make the faster line speeds permanent through last minute legislation while President elect Biden has spoken out against increasing line speeds
- Senator Cory Booker (Democrat, New Jersey) introduced a bill in July to block line-speed increases and accused the Trump administration of failing to “adequately protect meatpacking plant workers”
IUF President Mark Lauritsen said the IUF affiliate UFCW “will work with the Biden administration to protect meat and poultry workers during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Excessive line speeds are a hazard which exposes workers to increased risk of infection and injury, including repetitive strain injuries.”
*The photo above of UFCW poultry workers was taken pre-COVID-19.