On the Line

How the Meatpacking Industry Became a Hotbed of COVID-19

ProPublica investigates how big meat companies pushed to keep their plants running even as their workers, and the communities they lived in, became among the hardest hit by the pandemic — and how the government failed to stop them.

After Hundreds of Meatpacking Workers Died From COVID-19, Congress Wants Answers

A key House subcommittee cited reports by ProPublica and other news outlets in launching an investigation into how the country’s meatpacking companies handled the pandemic, which has killed hundreds of workers to date.

How the History of Waterloo, Iowa, Explains How Meatpacking Plants Became Hotbeds of COVID-19

Waterloo was the site of a historic battle for labor rights and racial justice. But as the meatpacking industry changed, the workforce lost its power and was primed for an outbreak. This is how we got here.

As COVID-19 Ravaged This Iowa City, Officials Discovered Meatpacking Executives Were the Ones in Charge

Meatpacking was once a path to the middle class in Waterloo, where workers led the fight for civil rights. But by the time the pandemic hit, a transformed industry had assembled a workforce from the most vulnerable parts of the world. The stage had been set.

Correos electrónicos muestran que la industria empacadora de carnes redactó el borrador de una orden ejecutiva para que las plantas permanecieran abiertas

Cientos de correos electrónicos ofrecen un vistazo excepcional del acceso que tiene la industria de la carne a los más altos niveles del gobierno, así como de la influencia que esta industria ejerce sobre ellos. El borrador fue presentado una semana antes de que se dictara la orden ejecutiva de Trump, la cual incluyó semejanzas notables.

Emails Show the Meatpacking Industry Drafted an Executive Order to Keep Plants Open

Hundreds of emails offer a rare look at the meat industry’s influence and access to the highest levels of government. The draft was submitted a week before Trump’s executive order, which bore striking similarities.

Las empresas empacadoras de carne ignoraron las advertencias durante años, pero ahora dicen que nadie habría podido prepararse para COVID-19

En documentos que se remontan hasta 2006, funcionarios gubernamentales pronosticaron que una pandemia pondría en peligro a las empresas imprescindibles y les advirtieron que se prepararan. Las empresas empacadoras de carne los ignoraron en gran medida, y ahora casi todos esos pronósticos se han vuelto realidad.

Meatpacking Companies Dismissed Years of Warnings but Now Say Nobody Could Have Prepared for COVID-19

In documents dating to 2006, government officials predicted that a pandemic would threaten critical businesses and warned them to prepare. Meatpacking companies largely ignored them, and now nearly every one of the predictions has come true.

They Warned OSHA They Were in “Imminent Danger” at the Meat Plant. Now They’re Suing the Agency.

The suit by workers at Maid-Rite Speciality Foods in Pennsylvania employs a rarely used legal tool and is the latest in a growing chorus of complaints about how the federal agency charged with protecting workers has responded to COVID-19.

Emails Reveal Chaos as Meatpacking Companies Fought Health Agencies Over COVID-19 Outbreaks in Their Plants

Thousands of pages of documents obtained by ProPublica show how quickly public health agencies were overwhelmed by meatpacking cases. One CEO described social distancing as “a nicety that makes sense only for people with laptops.”

What Happened When Health Officials Wanted to Close a Meatpacking Plant, but the Governor Said No

New documents obtained by ProPublica show public health officials in Grand Island, Nebraska, wanted the JBS meatpacking plant closed. But Gov. Pete Ricketts said no. Since then, cases have skyrocketed.

¿Qué sucedería si se enferman los empleados que cortan las carnes del país?

Al mismo tiempo que las empacadoras de carne se agilizan para tratar de satisfacer la demanda, sus empleados comienzan a contraer COVID-19. Sin embargo algunos de ellos dicen que se están presentando al trabajo enfermos por no tener licencia con goce de sueldo por enfermedad y por la posibilidad de ser penalizados si se quedan en su casa.

What Happens If Workers Cutting Up the Nation’s Meat Get Sick?

As meatpackers rush to meet demand, their employees are starting to get COVID-19. But some workers say they’re going to work ill because they don’t have paid sick days and can be penalized for staying home.

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