Unions representing workers at 10 chicken processing plants in six states – including Indiana - are suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to challenge a policy that allows companies to increase production speeds that the unions say puts workers at risk.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and local unions representing plants in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Missouri joined with nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen to file the lawsuit in federal court in Washington.
The lawsuit alleges that the waivers first allowed in 2018 violate the Administrative Procedure Act, endanger worker health and put them at risk during the coronavirus pandemic by making adequate distancing nearly impossible.
The Tyson Foods meatpacking plant in Logansport shut down for two weeks beginning in late April because so many employees there tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials traced more than a thousand positive cases back to the plant.
After the 2 week closure, the plant reopened with what it calls enhanced safety precautions.