Packing plant cases skyrocket as Trump and Reynolds demand plants continue production but not worker protections
DES MOINES — Today, Governor Reynolds is on her way to the White House for a national encore on the confusion, chaos, and worsening crisis caused by her and Trump’s failed response to this pandemic. The visit comes as Iowa plant workers are being forced back onto the line by the Trump Administration with encouragement from Reynolds, while threatening workers fearing infection and refusing to hold companies accountable for putting workers at greater risk.
Governor Reynolds has refused to take decisive action to contain the spread, choosing to give way to corporate CEOs who have poured money into her campaigns, rather than stand up for Iowa workers and demand common sense workplace protections.
As a result, Iowa has distinguished itself as one of the states with the fastest-growing spread in the country – with new modeling showing that the crisis is only growing more severe after Reynolds recklessly relaxed social distancing guidelines. Now, Reynolds is in Washington for a photo-op with Trump, who has abandoned Iowans by refusing to take steps to manufacture and provide the testing, medical equipment, and resources our communities need to stay healthy.
“As cases across the state continue to rise — including in recently re-opened counties — Reynolds boarded a private plane for a last-minute press opportunity in the Oval Office,” said IDP Chair Mark Smith. “If Governor Reynolds really wants to help Iowans, she’ll start listening to the workers and families who desperately need her leadership. Iowans want to work, we take pride in our role in feeding and fueling the world. But there’s no such thing as a safe supply chain without a safe workforce.”
Here’s a look at how Reynolds and Trump’s failed response has undermined Iowa’s ability to stop the spread:
- Reynolds and Trump are ignoring medical experts who warn of severe public health risks if Iowa re-opens too soon.
- More than 1,600 Iowa packing plant workers have contracted the virus, and even more are speaking out about their dangerous working conditions.
- Reynolds and Trump refuse to listen to workers or enforce common sense workplace safety measures, although Trump is in favor of protecting companies from legal liabilities if workers get sick on the job.
- Without widespread available testing, some workers who reported symptoms were turned away from being tested and died before they were able to get treatment.
- Iowa’s testing shortage has left cities in the dark about when resources will be available, causing local leaders’ concern about ability to stop the spread.
- Reynolds has refused to join other state leaders in urging Trump to use the Defense Production Act to order PPE production for frontline workers.
- Local leaders are looking for answers and resources to bolster their communities and haven’t received support.
- Trump’s administration is putting big oil companies before renewable energy producers and rural communities are bearing the economic burden as the virus spreads in new areas.
- USDA food inspectors are getting sick at alarming rates in packing plants without proper safety measures.
- Iowa lags behind other states in testing but ahead in case counts.