If Trump Wants Meat Plants Open, He Should Protect His Workers

The United States now has more than a million reported coronavirus cases, by far the most of any country in the world. The health of our nation, physically and economically, depends on the safety of our workers. That has always been true, but perhaps never more so than in the face of today’s crisis — and it’s why we need clear and decisive action from the White House. President Trump has given us more confusion than solutions, failing to use his executive authority to protect working people. In times of crisis, the Defense Production Act is an important tool for mobilizing resources and producing emergency supplies. President Trump hemmed and hawed on using it — he said he would use it only if “we need to invoke it in a worst-case scenario.” If this isn’t a worst-case scenario, nothing is. What’s worse, President Trump said he would also shield meatpacking companies from legal liability as long as they follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the facilities, which have proved to be wholly inadequate. Once again, this administration is favoring executives over working people, and the stock market over human lives. He is forcing workers to choose between a paycheck and their health.

Read Richard Trumka's Opinion Piece in The New York Times.