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Families of COVID-19 Meat Plant Victims Sue Tyson Foods
USAgNet - 07/06/2020

The families of three deceased meatpacking plant workers sued Tyson Foods alleging reckless, unsafe, and fraudulent behaviors which led to those deaths.

At least 20,000 meatpacking plant employees have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 74 have died. These plants, which require workers to engage in physical labor in tight quarters, have been recognized as extremely dangerous places since the COVID-19 outbreak hit the United States. But the plants, encouraged by the Trump administration, have been determined to stay open (or reopen, in many cases).

According to ModernFarmers.com reports that the owners of the plants--a small selection of gigantic corporations including Tyson, Smithfield Foods, JBS USA, and Cargill--announced that they would institute safety measures during the pandemic. Those included masks, gloves, clear plastic partitions, temperature checks, and physical distancing when possible. Those measures have not eliminated outbreaks of COVID-19 at meatpacking plants; individual locations continue to report hundreds of positive test results to this day.

The lawsuit, filed in Black Hawk County in Iowa, was filed by the families of three workers at Tyson's Waterloo, Iowa plant, all of whom died from COVID-19. The Waterloo plant is Tyson's largest pork processing facility in the state. The lawsuit accuses Tyson of moving far too slowly to implement safety measures, and operating without those safety measures while knowing how dangerous that could be. It also accuses the company of telling employees they would be safe at work despite knowing otherwise, of encouraging workers to come to work despite these dangers, of allowing sick or exposed workers to remain on the line, and of relying on measures (like temperature-taking) known to not be effective. (A fever can be an indicator of COVID-19, but isn't always.)

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