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COVID-19 Threats to Meatpacking Plant Workers

The dangerous world of work in meatpacking factories is often hidden from the public eye. The COVID-19 pandemic has further threatened the health of plant workers, who are forced to toil in cramped spaces that do not allow for social distancing. Workers often lack the necessary personal protective equipment.

Distinguished panelists

  • Axel Fuentes, executive director of the Rural Community Workers Alliance, a Missouri-based organization that works to build and strengthen the engagement of low-wage immigrant and refugee workers in their local communities to secure improved community health systems and services, and ensure workplace safety for food industry workers.
  • David Muraskin, JD, MSc, food project litigation director and senior attorney with Public Justice, where he focuses on litigation to promote sustainable alternatives to the industrial animal agriculture system. He represents ranchers, farmers, and consumers exploited by corporate consolidation in the food industry.
  • Melissa Perry, ScD, MHS, professor and chair of the environmental and occupational health department at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is a leading public health researcher whose studies have investigated factors in occupational injury and disease, particularly in meatpacking plants.

The conversation was moderated by Anna Werner, consumer investigative national correspondent for CBS News. Her recent reporting has covered the thousands of confirmed COVID-19 cases and multiple COVID-19-related employee deaths tied to meat processing plants across the United States.

See all events in PHR’s COVID-19 Webinar Series