Meatpacking union: 44 COVID-19 deaths among workers

May 29, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – The largest meatpacking union estimates that at least 44 U.S. meatpacking workers, including some at the Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls, 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.