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Pandemic in the Plants. The Meat Plants, That Is

3 18 21

Until recently, few people considered the sources of their meat. Then, a coronavirus walked into one after another of Meat Inc.'s humongous rural factories, where more than 90% of U.S. bacon, hamburger, chops, wings and other animal parts are processed. Within weeks, the industry's business model—immense plants, side-by-side congestion, worker powerlessness and profit-driven executive suite carelessness—had created hotbeds of contagion. Although the toll is undoubtedly higher, 494 meat factories have acknowledged coronavirus outbreaks that have infected at least 42,534 workers and killed 203.

In counties with few doctors and often no hospitals, bodies piled up; workers were refusing to show up; plants were forced to shut down; supermarkets and restaurants across the country rationed meat sales; and — worst of all in the corporate view—profits plummeted. What to do?

Do the old corporate shuffle, of course: Deny there's any crisis; hide the numbers of ill and dead; blame immigrants; get Trump to order workers back on the job and grant blanket legal immunity to the corporations for any resulting harm to working families; and speed up the high-speed disassembly lines, known as The Chain, that snake through the factories.

Sure enough, when workers began testing positive and dying, major meatpackers........

© Common Dreams

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