Scott Statement on President Trump Ordering Meat Processing Plants to Stay Open Despite Rising Worker Deaths

April 28, 2020
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s plan to order meat processing plants to stay open and shield companies from liability for the health and safety of their workers. 

“There is clear evidence that without proper protections from COVID-19, workers in meat processing plants and other workplaces will continue to fall ill and die from this disease. It is profoundly disturbing that President Trump is using his authority to force workers into dangerous conditions without providing enforceable safety standards to protect them from COVID-19.

“If the Trump administration plans to use the Defense Production Act to force meat processing plants to stay open, the American public must understand that workers will continue to get sick and die.  The administration would better reflect the best of America’s values if it used the DPA to mandate the production and distribution of personal protective equipment, while issuing an emergency workplace safety standard to protect workers from COVID-19. 

“If President Trump orders people to work in meat processing plants but refuses to protect their health and safety, the result will be more preventable illnesses, the tragic deaths of workers across the country, and ultimately, an actual reduction in food production as meat processing plants run out of healthy workers.”