An organization named Forward Latino and other groups from across the country filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against JBS and Tyson alleging racial discrimination during the COVID-19 response.
The organizations filed an administrative civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging that the Tyson and JBS adopted policies that rejected critical Centers for Disease Control guidance,including social distancing on meat processing lines, to stop the spread of COVID-19 at their processing facilities, according to a news release from Forward Latino.
The lawsuit was filed by the Food Chain Workers Alliance, the Rural Community Workers Alliance, the HEAL Food Alliance, Forward Latino, American Friends Service Committee — Iowa, and the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils. They are represented by Public Justice, Nichols Kaster PLLP, and Towards Justice.
The lawsuit is seeking the termination of financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Tyson and JBS and for the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce compliance.
If you are wondering exactly how the Black and Brown workers are not treated the same, here is an explanation:
Joe Henry, Forward Latino National Vice President, has been involved with workers rights at meat packing plants during the pandemic.
“Tyson and JBS aren’t even trying to follow CDC guidance by distancing workers on the line or slowing line speed. They’re just trying to make as much profit as quickly as they can with their predominantly black and brown workforce in the factory,” Henry said.
“That’s not the case for their white collar divisions which are made up of more white or Caucasian people — they are allowed to work from home for their health and safety during this pandemic. Because these companies have received over $150 million just this year in taxpayer money, the USDA must investigate this injustice and act immediately to prevent any further worker illnesses and deaths.”
I have literally dozens of posts on the meatpacking industry and how it has been changing America by changing the people. See my tag for meatpackers.
Just as I was writing this post, I see news that another Tyson worker, this time in TN, has died from the Chinese virus.
Endnote: A reminder (again!) that you should be finding a local source of meat and poultry as a part of your family’s preparations for whatever might be headed our way this fall (and into the future).
Tyson Turns to Robot Butchers, Spurred by Coronavirus Outbreaks
One of the huge changes coming to America thanks to the Chinese virus is, I predict, a much more rapid pace of automating many factory jobs.
If you are a longtime reader of RRW you know that the meatpacking industry is one of the major forces driving the US Refugee Admissions Program. The low skill refugee workers are legal and desperate for work, but all that could come to a screeching halt as I said here last month and in May here as the meat industry and food processing companies generally are forced to use machines that don’t get sick or quit!
Here are the first two paragraphs of the WSJarticle (I don’t subscribe, so I can’t see it all), but you get the drift.
SPRINGDALE, Ark.––Deboning livestock and slicing up chickens has long been hands-on labor. Low-paid workers using knives and saws work on carcasses moving steadily down production lines. It is labor-intensive and dangerous work.
Those factory floors have been especially conducive to spreading coronavirus. In April and May, more than 17,300 meat and poultry processing workers in 29 states were infected and 91 died, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Plant shutdowns reduced U.S. beef and pork production…
Since I said in my post at ‘Frauds and Crooks‘ yesterday that it is time to prepare for the worst, stop buying meat from any of the big globalist companies that are behind the importation of more impoverished people (like the Congolese from Africa) who will be voting for Democrats, or worse marching with BLM!
And, think about it, what are we going to do with hundreds of thousands of low-skilled and largely uneducated needy people that BIG MEAT is going to drop on the labor market?
See my extensive archive on Tyson Foods and how it has been changing America one meatpacking town at a time (and working hand in glove with refugee contractors to do it!).
If you like to eat beef, pork and poultry, find a local source NOW and get stocked up!
Large swaths of the refugee/immigrant labor force that came to America (or who were brought here by the federal government) to provide a ready supply of cheap labor for giant global corporations are still sick or are afraid to return to work in the meatpacking industry.
The Chinese virus has exposed a great vulnerability not just for the companies, but for the future of the country. Any intelligent company will now begin to see the need to move faster toward automationand then what happens to the literally millions of immigrant workers with no skills and no English to learn new skills.
Reutersthis week canvassed some of the BIG MEAT companies and reports that meat production is still not returning to its former capacity. Workers are sick or scared to return to work.
Notice how they even have to put Trump into this story headline, as if Trump’s order had anything to do with the continued problems of an industry that was not forward thinking.
Meatpacking workers often absent after Trump order to reopen
[Chinese owned] Smithfield Foods Inc [SFII.UL] is missing about a third of its employees at a South Dakota pork plant because they are quarantined or afraid to return to work after a severe coronavirus outbreak, according to the workers’ union.
Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N) was forced to briefly close its Storm Lake, Iowa plant – a month after U.S. President Donald Trump’s April 28 order telling meatpackers to stay open – as worker absences hobbled its slaughter operations.
Nationwide, 30% to 50% of meatpacking employees were absent last week, said Mark Lauritsen, a vice president at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).
Infections have risen steadily in rural counties that are home to large meatpacking plants since Trump ordered them to stay open. At least 15 meatpacking counties now report a higher infection rate, on a per capita basis, than New York City, the virus’s epicenter – though that is likely a reflection of the extensive testing of workers and local residents along with elevated infection rates.
More than a dozen meatpacking workers, union leaders and advocates told Reutersthat many employees still fear getting sick after losing confidence in management during coronavirus outbreaks in April and May. Absenteeism varies by plant, and exact data is not available, but some workers’ unwillingness to return poses a challenge to an industry still struggling to restore normal meat output.
In a report about refugees working in food processing in Abilene, Texas we see the same story.
If you have been wondering why Texas is still the number one destination of new refugees being admitted to the US (even as politicians there SAY they want it stopped), it is because of companies like this one that employs large numbers of immigrant/refugee laborers while changing the social and cultural makeup of American cities.
The article atFood & Environment Reporting Networkbegins with the usual refugee sob story. They must teach that in Journalism 101—soften up readers to the plight of the poor____ (fill in the blank)!
The story is long. It explains in detail the problems with a work force that is uneducated and living in close proximity to each other.
The pandemic is just the latest threat faced by refugee food workers in Texas
Lawi’s dilemma is one that many workers around the world are facing. But former refugees like Lawi can be particularly vulnerable in this pandemic.
Many former refugees are from rural parts of their home countries and had limited access to education. They might not read or write in their home languages, which makes it even harder to try to learn to read and write in English; they might only speak their own dialects, and their work experience is often constrained by the opportunities in overcrowded refugee camps where the average wait time to leave is close to 30 years.
A lack of education, work experience, and English language skills have made it especially hard for many former refugees to understand the scope of the pandemic and follow advice on social distancing.
Building ethnic enclaves is part of the problem….
Even without a pandemic, resettlement can present what feel like insurmountable obstacles. But agencies work to keep families and people of similar diaspora together because of their shared language and past, so they can quickly feel like extended family. Still, the fact that the community is often together—living in apartments near each other, spending time in each other’s homes outside of work—can be deadly in a pandemic.
Former refugees make up about 20 percent of the workforce at the AbiMar Foods plant. Because of that high number, the company’s outbreak was also a refugee-community issue. The close-knit nature of the community meant that those early days were especially crucial to stop the spread.
Bottomline, any smart company will be moving to mechanization and America will be left dealing with hundreds of thousands of refugees admitted in recent years who have no skills and little opportunity to gain any.
The Obama Administration told the UN in 2014 that we would be ‘welcoming’ 50,000 from the DR Congo over the subsequent five years.
We have now surpassed that number by at least 10,000. See here in late 2019 we were at 58,999!
What does that mean for the masses of refugees and other immigrants waiting to find a spot on the chicken or pork processing line in America?
Frankly, it spells doom and our great minds in Washington had better be working on a plan for managing the millions admitted to the US each year as cheap expendable labor.
“As companies have recovered their revenues and reopened their supply chains, they have increasingly invested not on rehiring the workforce but on automation and on reducing their dependence on manpower.”
(Leslie Joseph at Foresters)
The story is from Forbesand it addresses one of the many changes coming to America in the wake of the Chinese virus ‘crisis.’
Coronavirus Is Forcing Companies To Speed Up Automation, For Better And For Worse
Coronavirus will force companies to speed up their plans to replace jobs with automation, according to a report published by analyst company Forrester. In its report, Forrester notes that many companies are set to invest more in automation than in rehiring in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, corroborating earlier reports that had claimed many businesses were already planning to accelerate their automation strategies.
The news comes as businesses ponder how they can resume working amid lockdowns and social distancing. And while many will take the news as confirmation of their worst automation-themed fears, Forrester’s report urges companies who haven’t already done so to ramp up their automation plans. Indeed, Forrester holds that automation may become key to surviving a coronavirus recession, at least as far as businesses are concerned.
Let’s hope some in Washington are thinking ahead, but don’t hold your breath!
Update: After I had posted this story, I spotted this one at The New Yorkerentitled:
An A.F.L.-C.I.O. Adviser Considers the Future of American Workers
It is all about Presidential politics, race and voting, but a key word is missing when Michael Podhorzer, the former political director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., who now serves as a senior adviser to the union’s president, Richard Trumka, discusses the future of the American worker in the wake of COVID.
Because it is all over the news these days, I figured this might be a good time to repost some stories that you might not have seen or have long since forgotten. Like this one from 2017 (sure is good we were able to recover RRWwhen it was removed from the web last summer!):
Foreign-owned Big Meat hires Lutherans to help them find and retain refugee labor
That is the crux of this story and not in my wildest dreams did I think that money was directly changing hands between the meat industry and a federal refugee contractor, in this case Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Serviceheadquartered in Baltimore, MD.
I always assumed it was an informal relationship where the largely federally-funded ‘religious’ charity (LIRS is 96% funded by you and not via the collection plate) just happened to be bringing immigrant workers to small town America.
Now we learn that there is a formal (secret!), contractual arrangement planned for pilot projects in four states with JBS USA a Brazilian-owned company.And, it makes me wonder if this isn’t new and whether similar arrangements are being made with others of the nine federal refugee contractors.***
For those of you in places like St. Cloud, MN frustrated that you can’t get local elected officials to listen to you, remember their seemingly illogical resistance to slowing the flow of refugees has nothing to do with humanitarianism and everything to do with changing America for the almighty dollar!
Global meatpacking giant goes all in for refugee labor
A Lutheran resettlement agency that places United Nations refugees into dozens of U.S. cities and towns is working with the world’s largest meatpacking conglomerate to train refugees for work in four American states while also softening up the local natives to be more “welcoming.”
The secretive pilot program between Baltimore-based Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and the U.S. subsidiary of JBS Swift aims to pump more refugees into Georgia, Texas, Iowa and Michigan to work in the company’s meat plants. If successful, the pilot program could be renewed for a second year and replicated at JBS meat plants across the U.S., WND has learned.
JBS Swift, the Brazilian-based global meat-processing giant, has agreed to pay Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, or LIRS, $155,000 to implement the pilot program over the next year in the four states, according to a draft of the partnership agreement obtained by WND from a person with inside knowledge of the deal.
“The shock here is to find out that a religious agency is being paid by a foreign global corporation to train refugees and ultimately transform the demographics of small towns in America’s heartland,” said Ann Corcoran, an expert on the international movement of refugees and the nine volunteer agencies that resettle them for the U.S.
The deal between the global meat producer JBS and the Lutheran agency has been dubbed “Rebuilding Dreams,” and is described in the draft document as a “grant and collaboration agreement” between JBS USA and LIRS in the four states.
“The primary goal of this agreement is to improve the capacity of JBS USA and local resettlement agencies to support and improve the hiring and retention of refugee employees at four pilot sites in Michigan, Texas, Iowa, and Georgia,” according to the document.
The following are the cities in those states where JBS has meatpacking plants:
Iowa – Council Bluffs, Marshalltown and Ottumwa, mostly pork production
Michigan – Plainwell, mostly beef
Georgia – Elberton, Douglas, Athens, Ellijay, Canton and Carrollton, mostly chicken
Texas – Waco, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Pittsburg and Mount Pleasant, mostly chicken
“Rebuilding Dreams will achieve this goal by creating customized trainings and resources for key stakeholders, building stronger relationships through communications and technology platforms, enhancing the collection and evaluation of data, and improving the overall quality and culture of the workplace experience for refugee employees,” the agreement states.
The agreement also calls for improving the local “welcoming culture” in the cities where the refugees will be placed.
Part of United Nations agenda for sustainability
JBS is a transnational, global corporation that beats the United Nations “sustainability” drum on its website, and it also cashes in on the globalized “labor mobility” concept pushed by the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Read more here.The story is a detailed must-read about how a global corporation and a supposedly religious charity are changing America by changing the people.
And as a side reading project, see this 2006 articlefrom the Greeley Tribune involving Swift (JBS bought Swift) explaining how the meat industry went from being a desirable place for Americans to work to their model today that is increasingly reliant on the global movement of labor—-middle America be damned!
Don’t miss Bloomberg: Big Meat worried about Trump’s reduced refugee flow,here.
For Republicans it’s about money!
We know the Dems are pushing refugee resettlement in order to boost the number of Democrat voters, and if you are wondering why the Republicans aren’t doing enough to get the program controlled—look to the Chamber of Commerce and GLOBAL Corporations that have convinced the Republican leadership that the free flow of cheap and captive (uncomplaining) labor across borders is the future.
The jig is up!
Big Meat gets cheap labor, the Dems get voters, and you, the taxpayer, get to subsidize it all (including welfare for workers paid insufficient wages!). If you complain you are a hater, a racist and an Islamophobe!
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Serviceis the lead federal contractor for the following list of subcontractors.
Making it clear!
LIRS, in Baltimore, is not a separate group from the others on the list!
LIRS is the lead contractor that deals directly with the US State Department and divvies up incoming refugees between the agencies below—LOL! it is the ‘mothership’ to the following:
(Update: Since this post is from 2017 some of the subcontractors listed may no longer exist. I didn’t bother checking. See if the one near you is still up and running and let me know!)
So what do you do? Go tothis postI wrote earlier this month and get to work where you live!
For more on meatpackers and cheap immigrant labor, go here.
*** For new readers, these are the nine major federal refugee contractors largely funded by you, the taxpayer. Refugee resettlement is not first and foremost about humanitarianism so don’t let them shut you up!