Coronavirus: Did workers die to keep food on America’s tables? | The Stream


The coronavirus has put thousands of poultry processing workers across the US in a horrible predicament: risk your health by continuing to work or lose your job.

A new film from Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines exposes how immigrants, communities of colour and the working poor are being exploited for cheap labour. Plant employees are forced to work closely together on production lines and, in many plants across the US, woefully inadequate safety precautions have been taken.

In April, as the virus threatened to close meat and food processing plants, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order deeming the plants essential businesses and mandating they remain open. In order to keep meat on America’s tables, plant workers stayed on despite the failure of many facilities to address their safety.

As of October 20, 48,398 meatpacking workers, 12,290 food processing workers, and 10,654 farm workers have tested positive for Covid-19, according to a tally by the Food and Environment Reporting Network. The tally estimated that 321 have died.

In this episode of The Stream, we look at the new Fault Lines documentary, ‘Virus On The Poultry Line’, discuss the difficulties poultry workers are facing and ask, who is ready to help?

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