The UFCW has called on the U.S. Congress to immediately pass the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 ACT introduced in the House of Representatives which would mandate a reduction in the dangerously fast line speeds which have made many meatpacking plants coronavirus hotspots.
“Congress must pass this vital legislation immediately”, said UFCW President Marc Peronne. “This bill is a critical step to reining in the dangerously fast line speeds at so many meatpacking plants and will put the safety of workers and our country’s food supply first.”
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)”, says the UFCW, “has repeatedly attempted to remove line speed limits in pork and poultry plants, increasing the risk to both workers and food safety. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the country’s food supply chain, the USDA has continued to grant waivers that allow plants to run faster and endanger more workers.”
Representative Rosa DeLauro, one of the legislators who introduced the bill in Congress, said “The high-profile COVID-19 outbreaks at meatpacking plants have raised questions of the safety of the conditions inside these plants. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, these workers experienced injuries at a higher rate than comparable occupations. And now, faster line speeds make it impossible for workers to practice social distancing and to comply with safety guidelines.”