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(Newser)

With meat packers facing high COVID-19 rates, where were the feds? Investigating, it looks. Now regulators enjoy slapped fines on two meatpacking crops and precipitated a fresh round of finger-pointing over employee safety amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington Put up reports. Levied this week, fines in opposition to a JBS plant in Colorado and a Smithfield Meals plant in South Dakota total about $29,000—a pittance, some tell, for companies that rake in billions of bucks in earnings per year. “These slight fines are nothing to [meat plant owners],” says Kim Cordova, president of the UFCW Native 7 for JBS workers. “They give an incentive to produce these workers work sooner and more difficult in basically the most unsafe working conditions likely.”

However JBS and Smithfield pushed assist, pronouncing they’d to variety out employee safety on their enjoy. “We took out of the ordinary measures … to preserve our workers as healthy and safe as conceivable,” a Smithfield get suggested CBS Information. Now the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which calls its six-month probe “exhaustive,” is telling both corporations to enlarge social distancing or assign up obstacles between workers. However JBS and Smithfield enjoy already antagonistic social-distancing measures and quarantines that saved workers at dwelling—and increased the strain on those that did existing up, the AP reports. Meanwhile, the Meals Environmental Reporting Community estimates that COVID-19 has infected at least 42,534 meatpacking workers and killed at least 203 all over 494 crops. (By one estimate, some 56% of infected workers are Latino.)

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