Meatpacking union: 44 COVID-19 deaths among workers

Virus Outbreak South Dakota

The Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., is seen Wednesday, April 8, 2020, where health officials reported more than 80 employees have confirmed cases of the coronavirus (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The largest meatpacking union estimates that at least 44 U.S. meatpacking workers have died from the new coronavirus and another 3,000 have tested positive.

Meat processing plants have become hot spots for infections across the country, but they have mostly stayed open since President Donald Trump’s executive order declaring them critical infrastructure in late April.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union says 30 meatpacking plants have closed at some point since March, resulting in an estimated 40% reduction in pork production and a 25% reduction in beef.

The union has called for more safety measures to protect workers and preserve food supply.

Categories: Coronavirus, National News, South Dakota News