'This is crazy to me': Meat plant workers say they won't go back after Trump signs executive order to keep facilities operating to prevent food shortage despite unsafe conditions

Meat processing workers say that they won't return to work despite President Donald Trump's demand that plants stay open amid fears over the nation's food supply.
On Tuesday, Trump used the Defense Production Act to classify meat processing plants as critical infrastructure in a bid to prevent the shortage of chicken, pork and other meat as plants across the country have closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks among employees. 
However, many employees claim the order puts their lives at stake due to unsafe conditions, a lack of protective equipment and outbreaks that led the nation's three largest facilities shut down. 
'All I know is, this is crazy to me, because I can't see all these people going back into work,' Donald who works at Tyson's Waterloo, Iowa facility said to CNN. 'I don't think people are going to go back in there.'
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union estimated on Tuesday that 20 meatpacking and food processing workers have died from the virus and some 6,500 are sick or have been exposed through the workplace.
Meat processing plant workers are voicing their outrage over President Donald Trump's executive order on Tuesday to keep facilities running despite COVID-19 outbreaks
Meat processing plant workers are voicing their outrage over President Donald Trump's executive order on Tuesday to keep facilities running despite COVID-19 outbreaks 
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union condemned Trump's order saying it puts workers at risk. They estimated on Tuesday that 20 meatpacking and food processing workers have died from COVID-19
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union condemned Trump's order saying it puts workers at risk. They estimated on Tuesday that 20 meatpacking and food processing workers have died from COVID-19
'All I know is, this is crazy to me, because I can’t see all these people going back into work. I don’t think people are going to go back in there,' Donald who works at Tyson’s Waterloo, Iowa facility said on Trump's order. The plant, above, was shut down on April 22 after 180 workers got infected
'All I know is, this is crazy to me, because I can't see all these people going back into work. I don't think people are going to go back in there,' Donald who works at Tyson's Waterloo, Iowa facility said on Trump's order. The plant, above, was shut down on April 22 after 180 workers got infected
Trump discusses Defense Production Act to keep meat plants open
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The union, which represents 1.3million food and retail workers, says at least 13 processing plants have been closed over the past two months. 
Donald, who was only identified by his first name, said he is currently recovering from COVID-19 following a devastating outbreak at the facility that saw at least 180 workers get infected, prompting the plant to shut down on April 22. 
'I'm still trying to figure out: What is he going to do, force them to stay open? Force people to go to work?' Donald said. 
Another worker at the Waterloo, Iowa facility said they supported Trump's measure, but wanted a better understanding of Trump's promised protections. 
'All in all, it can be a good thing if done right. But my faith in this administration has never been strong and is nonexistent currently. I wanna know what these added 'liability protections' are going to be,' the person said.  
An employee at Tyson's Independence, Iowa plant said, 'I just don't know how they're going to do it when there are people dying and getting really sick. Who's to say people are even gonna show up to work?' 

An employee at Tyson's Independence, Iowa plant said, 'I just don't know how they're going to do it when there are people dying and getting really sick. Who's to say people are even gonna show up to work?' A Tyson plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa pictured above
An employee at Tyson's Independence, Iowa plant said, 'I just don't know how they're going to do it when there are people dying and getting really sick. Who's to say people are even gonna show up to work?' A Tyson plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa pictured above

Tyson Foods to indefinitely suspend pork plant in Iowa
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In Illinois a Smithfield pork plant in Monmouth closed after a 'small portion' of its 1,700 employees caught the virus, but officials say they can't follow the president's order if workers are still ill.
Monmouth Mayor Rod Davies said to the Chicago Tribune: 'I certainly appreciate what the president is trying to do, but it will be a difficult challenge to make that happen when we have a certain number of people who are sick and people around those individuals who are sick.'
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has condemned the president's order saying it puts worker's at risk.  
The closure of 13 plants across the country means pork slaughter capacity has plunged 25 percent and beef slaughter capacity by 10 percent. 
Due the coronavirus lockdown orders, industry experts say the demand for meat has increased. Meat beef and pork production reached record highs in March, according to the US Agriculture Department.
In the pandemic essential food employees have continued to work, however outbreaks have led to concern over the safety of plant employees. As more plants closed down, worries have grown over US meat supply. 
In response to outbreaks at plants major meat processors such as Smithfield, Tyson and others say they've implemented social distancing measures, temperature checks and plexiglass to keep workers safe, but employee say it's not enough.
Three of the country's biggest pork processing plants – Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, JBS pork processing in Worthington, Minnesota and Tyson Fresh Foods in Waterloo, Iowa have shut down. Together they account for 15 percent of pork production.  
Twitter users have voiced their outrage over the president's act to mandate food plant workers keep working, while failing to prove a sufficient number of masks and testing kits for states in need
Twitter users have voiced their outrage over the president's act to mandate food plant workers keep working, while failing to prove a sufficient number of masks and testing kits for states in need
Twitter users pointed out that the facilities were shut down in the first place due to outbreaks of COVID-19 and that reopening them would only further spread the virus
Twitter users pointed out that the facilities were shut down in the first place due to outbreaks of COVID-19 and that reopening them would only further spread the virus

Trump issued the order on Tuesday saying, 'We're going to sign an executive order today, I believe, and that'll solve any liability problems.'
He signed the measure after companies like Tyson Foods considered keeping just 20 percent of their facilities running. Such a move would have reduced the country's processing capacity by 80 percent. 
While some praised the president's effort to preserve the meat supply chain, others slammed the president for trying to ramp up meat production instead of medical supplies. 
'This president had no problem invoking the Defense Production Act to ensure our nation's supply of chicken nuggets but he had to be dragged kicking and screaming to invoke it for masks and testing kits,' one Twitter user said. 
'Disgusting. Forcing people sick with the virus to continue to work and not providing PPE is criminal,' another twitter user added. 
But Trump's order wasn't unwarranted. Smithfield CEO Ken Sullivan warned that the mounting number of plant closures would push 'our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply'.
In total the US has about 2,700 slaughter plants, 800 of which are federally inspected. 
In response to Trump's order Smithfield pork supplier said they are 'evaluating next steps to open its currently shuttered facilities and will make announcements when it is ready to resume operations in each location.'
'We can tell you our top priority remains the safety (of) our team members and plant communities while we work to continue fulfilling our role of feeding families across the country,' Tyson Foods spokesman Gary Mickelson said on the order. 
'This is crazy to me': Meat plant workers say they won't go back after Trump signs executive order to keep facilities operating to prevent food shortage despite unsafe conditions 'This is crazy to me': Meat plant workers say they won't go back after Trump signs executive order to keep facilities operating to prevent food shortage despite unsafe conditions Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 01:49 Rating: 5

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