Donald Trump signs legislation to impose sanctions on China for interfering with Hong Kong's autonomy
Joe Biden calls for increased safety for workers in the meatpacking industry
Former Vice President Joe Biden is calling for improved working conditions for employees in the meatpacking industry. With the current coronavirus pandemic, the sector is vital to keep the nation’s food supply chain up and running but Biden said that worker safety needs to be improved on.
“People are getting sicker, People are getting hurt,” Biden told Yahoo News on Tuesday. “The very thing we should be doing now is making sure these people are protected.”
Joe Biden wants meatpacking plants to observe safety precautions such as social distancing and protective equipment to prevent the spread of the virus. “That they have space 6 feet apart, that they have shields around them, slow the process up,” he added. “Make sure they have the protective gear, make sure they are being taken care of.”
The cost of such preventive measures will likely be passed on to consumers. But for Biden, a slight increase in meat prices is acceptable as it means the safety of the workers employed in the food supply chain.
“Absolutely positively, no worker’s life is worth me getting a cheaper hamburger,” Biden responded when asked about the potential price increase. “No workers life is worth that. That’s what the hell’s happened here.”
Biden said that the government has the obligation to protect workers regardless of the industry they belong to. “We don’t treat the workers well at all across the board,” he added. “We have obligations to workers, we have obligations to the community.”
President Donald Trump ordered meatpacking plants open to keep the nation’s food supply chain up and running. However, there are concerns about the lack of safety measures against the coronavirus threat in the working environment.
The issue has been raised by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). “To protect America’s food supply, America’s meatpacking workers must be protected,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said after Trump announced he will use the Defense Production Act to keep meatpacking facilities open.
“The reality is that these workers are putting their lives on the line every day to keep our country fed during this deadly outbreak, and at least 20 meatpacking workers have tragically died from coronavirus while more than 5,000 workers have been hospitalized or are showing symptoms,” Perrone added. “For the sake of all our families, we must prioritize the safety and security of these workers.”