Perdue writes to meat packers, governors about Trump’s order with warning
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue late Tuesday sent memos to governors and major meat processing company leaders to establish what he called USDA’s “clear expectations for the implementation of President Donald Trump’s executive order last week directing plants to follow the Centers for Disease Control and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidance specific to the meat processing industry to keep these critical facilities open while maintaining worker safety.”
The memo also said, “I exhort you to do this; further action under the executive order and the Defense Production Act is under consideration and will be taken if necessary.”
“USDA expects state and local officials to work with these critical meat processing facilities to maintain operational status while protecting the health of their employees,” Perdue said in what he described as letters. “Meat processing facilities are critical infrastructure and are essential to the national security of our nation. Keeping these facilities operational is critical to the food supply chain, and we expect our partners across the country to work with us on this issue.”
The memo also said, “The meat and poultry processing plants contemplating reductions of operations or recently closed since Friday, May 1, and without a clear timetable for near term resumption of operations, should submit written documentation of their operations and health and safety protocol developed based on the CDC/OSHA guidance to USDA at firstname.lastname@example.org. Plants should resume operations as soon as they are able after implementing the CDC/OSHA guidance for the protection of workers. USDA will continue to work with plants, the CDC, OSHA, and state, tribal, and local officials to ensure facilities are implementing practices consistent with the guidance to keep employees safe and continue operations. Again, I exhort you to do this; further action under the executive order and the Defense Production Act is under consideration and will be taken if necessary.”
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign SB 21-87, known as the Farm Workers Bill of Rights, though much of the content will be decided through the rulemaking process.