Smithfield Foods Sued By Employers For Dangerous Work Environment
The largest slaughterhouse in America—and the world—has been putting workers and the American public at risk. Its largest facilities operate in North Carolina, but the company isn’t owned by Americans.
Smithfield Foods, which Nationalist Review previously reported on, is a Chinese owned and operated slaughterhouse and meatpacking corporation that controls some of the biggest brands in the country. It’s just one of the many agricultural businesses that China has purchased in the last 10 years.
The company is now facing a federal lawsuit for failing to properly protect workers from catching the disease by refusing them ample time to wash their hands, discouraging sick leave, and failing to implement a testing regimen in order to maintain safe working conditions.
The lawsuit says that “Smithfield is so unwilling to acknowledge its responsibilities to its workers and the communities where it operates that it recently blamed ‘certain cultures’ for the spread of the disease in its South Dakota plant …”
The lawsuit doesn’t seek money damages. Rather, it asks for an injunction to force Smithfield to comply with Centers for Disease Control and public health guidelines.
David Muraskin, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he was not aware of any other lawsuits seeking changes in production processes at plants, rather than monetary damages.
“All we want, all we are asking for is for it to aggressively defend its workers,” Muraskin said. “If they do that our claims go away.”
At least 46 people in one North Carolina county have been infected with the disease after showing up for work at a Smithfield facility and hundreds more throughout their wide network of plants have also come down with the disease.
Smithfield, now owned by China’s WH Group, has responded to these claims with exactly the sort of indifference one would expect a predatory foreign conglomerate to have. Instead of taking responsibility for the endangering of their employees, they blamed the “culture” of Americans living in North Carolina on its spread.
But Smithfield isn’t playing it honest. A number of their policies guaranteed that working at one of their facilities would increase an individual’s risk of contracting the disease—far more than working in another industry. One study found that counties with meatpacking facilities and found that they had twice as many cases per 100,000 residents when compared to the national average.
Even some of the incentives Smithfield offered in order to keep people coming in to work likely did more harm than good. In one plant, free lunch was offered from a centralized cafeteria, causing workers from every section of the factory to intermingle and often without protective gear.
And it’s not just North Carolina, either. Smithfield operates plants throughout the United States, and as the pandemic continues, a pattern has begun to emerge where large clusters of COVID-19 positive patients, often in the most rural parts of the country, are coming down with the disease after stints on the factory line.
In South Dakota, it started with just one confirmed case at a Smithfield factory on 25 March. By mid-April, 644 employees of the factory had been confirmed to have contracted the virus. That particular location did eventually shut down operations—after the total number of cases reached 730 (and continued to rise to 891 after the closure).
Another foreign-owned meatpacking company, JBS, has suffered similar casualties: 5 deaths, 103 infections. JBS is a Brazilian corporation plagued by a long history of bribes and corruption. Most notably, they began exporting rotten meat to the United States, eventually causing the federal government to ban the importation of beef from Brazil.
It’s time to take back control of our agricultural industry. This is a matter of national security.