Iowa is crucial

Bloomberg April 28:

Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that compels slaughterhouses to remain open, setting up a showdown between the giant companies that produce America’s meat and the unions and activists who want to protect workers in a pandemic.

Which is more important – the continued ability to eat far more meat than is either necessary or healthy, or the survival of people who work in meatpacking plants? Tough question, isn’t it.

Using the Defense Production Act, Trump is ordering plants to stay open as part of the critical infrastructure needed to keep people fed amid growing supply disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak. The government will provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance.

The government – state if not federal – will also make sure that workers who refuse to return to the plants will be denied unemployment benefits.

A handful of companies account for the majority of the nation’s meat, and as workers fell sick in March, plants initially continued to run. But pressure from local health officials and unions led to voluntary closures.

Companies have been pressing to reopen. The president himself has long agitated for Americans to return to work and restore an economy crippled by social distancing measures.

Because who cares if workers get sick? They’re probably all brown people, right?

Environmental Working Group called the order a potential death sentence. The United Food and Commercial Workers union said in a statement that if workers aren’t safe, the food supply won’t be either. At least 20 workers in meat and food processing have died, and 5,000 meatpacking workers have either tested positive for the virus or were forced to self-quarantine, according to UFCW.

Blah blah blah; shut up and give us our burgers.

Bloomberg yesterday:

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he expects U.S. meatpacking plants to fully resume operations within a week to 10 days, during a meeting with President Donald Trump and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

More than half of workers at some American meat plants tested positive for coronavirus, which has slowed production even as some facilities reopen. While Smithfield Foods Inc. is restarting its giant Sioux Falls slaughterhouse on Thursday, it doesn’t expect to return to full operations until late May. Absenteeism is spiking at some plants as workers take leave out of fear of being infected.

Trump is prodding states to reopen their economies, even as cases and deaths continue to mount in the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, the world’s largest. Reynolds, a Republican, announced last week that certain businesses — including restaurants, malls and fitness centers in roughly three quarters of the state — could open with limited capacity. She also lifted restrictions on religious services statewide, as long as they follow social distancing guidelines.

Iowa is crucial to Trump’s re-election bid and the White House is paying close attention to the situation there.

And throwing other people’s lives away for the sake of his continued dictatorship.

I hope he is coughing a dry cough right now.

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