Coronavirus

Meatpackers Killed Employees For Trump

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump White House badly mismanaged the response to the coronavirus pandemic which eventually reached the meatpacking facilities that supply your local grocery store. But as local plants started to shut down to avoid spreading the virus among employees, you may recall that Trump ordered them to stay open. A severe meat shortage would have looked very bad for the White House, right?

Meatpacking plants quickly became superspreading plants for the virus and now that workers have died from it, meat companies are denying benefits and compensation to the families of those killed.

One particular meatpacker that's denying benefits to families stood out and caught my attention.

(Reuters) - Saul Sanchez died in April, one of six workers with fatal COVID-19 infections at meatpacker JBS USA’s slaughterhouse in Greeley, Colorado, the site of one of the earliest and deadliest coronavirus outbreaks at a U.S. meatpacking plant.

JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, denied the family’s application for workers’ compensation benefits, along with those filed by the families of two other Greeley workers who died of COVID-19, said lawyers handling the three claims. Families of the three other Greeley workers who died also sought compensation, a union representative said, but Reuters could not determine the status of their claims.

JBS has said the employees’ COVID-19 infections were not work-related in denying the claims, according to responses the company gave to employees, which were reviewed by Reuters.

Attorneys for the families are struggling to legally prove that they contracted the virus at work even though we all know they did. They were ordered to go to work and potentially contract the virus, after all.

In any case, JBS stood out to me -- and you may recognize the company as well -- because JBS USA is actually the American subsidiary of the Brazilian JBS corporation. Moreover, you may recall that JBS received not one, not two, and actually more than three bailouts from the Trump regime as part of the FDA's bailouts for farmers harmed by Trump's trade war.

The Trump White House bailed out JBS and then his executive order gave them cover to continue operating at the cost of workers' lives.

If Senate Republicans had their way, this would happen at almost every employer in the country. Republicans largely do not believe we should spend another dime on coronavirus stimulus, of course, but another reason they've never agreed to pass another stimulus package is because congressional Democrats won't agree to pass sweeping protections from liability for corporations. The GOP's latest stimulus probably -- the one that McConnell reduced in scope to just $300 billion to attract a simple majority of Republicans -- included immunity for corporations.

Republicans want to make it ironclad legal for corporations to deny claims to the families of people forced to go back to work and die or those who now may have permanent disabilities associated with COVID-19 infection. They also don't want to pay for health care or unemployment.

Don't vote for people who want you broke and dead.

  • muselet

    Having workers standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the midst of a pandemic is tantamount to forcing them to play Russian roulette. Spacing workers farther apart would have slowed production (and cut profits) but might have reduced the spread of the virus within the facilities.

    I’d suggest Rs—and the directors of meat companies—work in ICUs for a while so they could see just how devastating Covid-19 is, but learning that lesson would require them to have some semblance of empathy, something every one of them seems to lack.

    –alopecia

    • Nefercat

      I’d suggest Rs—and the directors of meat companies—work in ICUs

      You are right, they have no empathy, so they wouldn’t learn a thing. Let’s just have them keep the meatpacking plants open and give the employees a break. Or let the employees run floor operations.

    • Christopher Foxx

      something every one of them seems to lack.

      “seems” ?

      Why do liberals refuse to call them out directly on their shit? When will the self-defeating politeness stop?

      http://www.bobcesca.com/you-gotta-clean-your-forests/#comment-5083060350