10/07/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/07/2019 13:08
October 7, 2019
America's Largest Private Sector Union, Representing 30,000 Pork Workers, Challenges USDA Policy Endangering Safety of Food and Workers
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, together with Public Citizen and UFCW Locals 663, 440 and 2 filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota seeking to stop the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new swine slaughter modernization rule which eliminates the line speed limits in pork slaughter plants and turns inspection of our food over to the companies that produce it.
'Thousands of our members work hard every day in America's pork plants to help families across the country put food on the table. Increasing pork plant line speeds is not only a reckless giveaway to giant corporations, it will put thousands of workers in harm's way,' saidUFCW International President Marc Perrone. 'This new rule would also dramatically weaken critical protections that Americans depend on to be able to select safe, healthy food to feed their families every day. The safety of America's food and workers is not for sale and this lawsuit seeks to ensure this dangerous rule is set aside and these companies are held accountable.'
'Shockingly, USDA admitted in its rule that it simply ignored the mounds of evidence that showed its actions will harm workers, while bending over backwards to help businesses. That violates basic principles of administrative law,' saidAdam Pulver, an attorney with Public Citizen, which represents UFCW and the three locals in the case.
The lawsuit alleges that the new rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it is not backed by reasoned decision-making.
'We urged the USDA to consider how unsafe this rule would make our workplaces, but they refused,' saidUFCW Local 663 President Matt Utecht in Minnesota. 'We had no choice but to go to court to stop a rule that will endanger the health and livelihoods of thousands of UFCW members.'
'We have a lot of pride in the products our members produce,' saidUFCW Local 440 President Leo Kanne in Iowa. 'This rule will erode the quality and safety of the food we make and feed to our own families.'
'The USDA claims that this rule will make our food safer,' saidUFCW Local 2 President Martin Rosas in Kansas. 'But our members, who have worked in the industry for years, know firsthand it makes both the food they make and the plants they work in less safe. Let's listen to the first-hand experts who work in these plants every day, instead of big corporations just looking to make even more money.'
On the USDA published a new rule for pork meat inspections which removes limits on line speeds in swine slaughter plants and turns over major meat inspection tasks from federal inspectors to meat companies.
The Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule will hurt workers across the country.
Hazards of Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection Rule:
Key Facts About Swine Workers: