Hero of the Week: Smithfield Foods Whistleblower

Hog processing plant Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This week an anonymous employee at a Smithfield Foods meat processing facility wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post exposing the dangers that workers are subjected to in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak at the plant. The meat processing industry has been a hub of coronavirus outbreaks and workers are terrified to have to show up to work or risk losing their jobs. Here’s an excerpt from this chilling account:

I believe our plant hasn’t done enough to protect us, and I fear that we could suffer the same fate as a shuttered plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., where two Smithfield employees have died of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, already.

At first, the coronavirus seemed so far away. Then we heard that the nearby university had told students not to return from spring break. On March 13, our governor declared a state of emergency. A few days later, the local schools closed, and I had to hire a babysitter. As a parent, that made the seriousness of the virus really sink in.

Workers deemed essential are literally risking their lives every day when they show up to work. It’s emphasized the vast shortcomings in labor laws as well as worker rights that we have in the United States after decades of anti-union policies. We wanted to thank this brave person for writing this essay and reminding the rest of us that we desperately need a worker bill of rights in our country.

Up Next

Panelists Discuss More Sustainable Ways to Farm at Climate Week NYC

Panelists Discuss More Sustainable Ways to Farm at Climate Week NYC

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer With drought continuing in the West, and the summer’s historic floods throughout Europe, the world is wondering how climate change will also affect the way we eat. This controversial question was addressed by agriculture experts, NGOs, government officials, and corporate leaders at Peas, Trees, and 1.5 Degrees, a Climate […]

Continue Reading 427 words
Food is the Future

Food is the Future

By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer In the lead-up to today’s United Nations Food Systems Summit, young activists spoke about their priorities for the global gathering at yesterday’s Food is the Future event. At the event, youth representatives from worldwide  interviewed  adult peers in the world of food system work.    In an effort to […]

Continue Reading 380 words
UN Report: Focus on Rural Farming Takes On Inequity and Climate

UN Report: Focus on Rural Farming Takes On Inequity and Climate

By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Investing in small-scale local farm activities can take on rural poverty, sustainability, and nutrition challenges according to a report released today by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development. The report, Transforming Food Systems for Rural Prosperity, recommends supporting all elements of food production, not just growing crops. Expanding […]

Continue Reading 367 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.