Mar 29, 2021
A coronavirus outbreak that began at the Farmer John pork processing plant in Los Angeles County nearly a year ago has never ended, as Mother Jones reported. According to the latest county health department data, 795 workers, or nearly half the plant’s workforce, have tested positive for COVID-19, and five workers have died.
This is the largest coronavirus outbreak at any food-processing facility or other similar work site in Los Angeles, and one of the largest meatpacking plant outbreaks in the country.
And throughout this outbreak, every level of government has looked the other way. Last year, after the pandemic hit the U.S., the Trump administration ordered that such meat processing plants remain open at all costs. Then, on May 6, 2020, Fredrick Agyin, director of the health and environmental control department for the city of Vernon, where the plant is located, wrote Greg Hernandez, the plant manager: “Our office will no longer require Smithfield to submit the confirmed COVID-19 positive cases to us.” Smithfield is owner of Farmer John.
A year later, Farmer John workers continue to get sick. And every level of government, from the city on up through federal government, continues to do nothing to stop it.
In capitalism, only profits count. And the workers’ lives are disposable.