Temporarily Close down the Meat Processing plants in Northwest Arkansas to protect workers

Temporarily Close down the Meat Processing plants in Northwest Arkansas to protect workers

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To: Tyson, Cargill, George's, Butterball, OMP, Simmons

Please take action and temporarily close, with pay, the meat processing centers in Northwest Arkansas. They are also needing help to make it easier for the HR departments to provide extra help providing answers, and processing paperwork that is needed. 

Remember, you are leaders in the meat industry, you can make this happen and allocate production differently temporarily to help save lives and keep your workers safe. The recent executive order does not keep you from doing that. Please remember that absolutely no worker’s life is worth us not being able to buy cheaper meat at the grocery store. Take a stand for your workers and reflect on this quote from a previous Tyson Chairman “From the beginning, our company has been built on faith, family, and hard work. That tradition, our Core Values, and 'doing what's right' are deeply embedded in our culture.”-John Tyson, Chairman

Thank you for your continued consideration and support of the Marshallese & Hispanic communities that are some of the most vulnerable in this area, and the resources that they give back to your company as humans who value work for their families, communities, and one another.  We know you are taking this seriously, and doing your best to work within CDC guidelines to keep people safe, and the food supply going. However it is time to take a stand, as leaders in the meat industry. We would appreciate a response to this request to the community.

As you are most likely aware, of the roughly 250,000 poultry workers in the US, most are minorities, immigrants, or refugees. Many times they do not speak up out of fear of losing their job, many times, the only one for their household. So we must speak out for them. 

The pandemic, and COVID19 has been particularly devastating to the Marshallese Community in the Northwest Arkansas. Making up more than 3% of the population of NWA, their positivity rate for the disease is over 30% compared to the most recent, at time of this letter, 6% for the state of Arkansas. Over half of the current deaths, due to the disease, in your area have been from the Marshallese community. 

Please consider shutting down your plant in this area for two weeks, and paying your workers for those two weeks. Also we are asking that you make it easier for the HR department to be able to help these members, to be able to fill out and process paperwork needed for any benefits they are eligible for, and what to do if they are not. Finding and providing translators at this time is very important. 

Mandate an independent test at shutdown, as a condition of shutdown, to be re-tested and shown when opened back up, and allow the community time to take action, quarantine theirselves for safety, and for you to sterilize and clean the plants. You will earn their respect and long-term appreciation of taking such an unprecedented step.

It will take a large meat processing company to stand up for their people and doing the right thing, to protect your workers safety. Please make this decision to help save lives. Thank you!

Take a moment to read stories of the Marshallese community during Covid19 and give back to help here: