WASHINGTON — On Feb. 2, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) reintroduced the Protecting America’s Meatpacking Workers Act.
The legislation provides additional protection for US meatpacking workers through strengthened safety measures and improved workplace conditions in meat and poultry processing plants. Systematic reforms are also included in this bill, such as a fair market that is more accessible to independent producers.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers, expressed its support of the act.
“Meatpacking and food processing workers risked their health and safety as essential workers every single day during the height of the pandemic to ensure American families had food on the table,” said Marc Perrone, UFCW international president. “While our union was able to fight for and secure many protections for our members, every single worker in this industry deserves the essential protections that meat and poultry processing companies are still failing to provide.
“This critically important legislation will be instrumental in protecting workers, holding the industry accountable and making our food system more resilient. Americans should be able to trust that the food they put on the table comes from American workers who are protected on the job.”
The Protecting America’s Meatpacking Workers Act is part of a package introduced by Booker. Other bills include the Farm System Reform Act, Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act and Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act. All the bills focus on reforming the US agriculture sector.
“For years I have worked to elevate the voices of farmers, workers and consumers in urban and rural communities, sounding the alarm about our broken food system and calling for change,” Booker said. “The COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and recent climate change-related disasters have highlighted how fragile our current food system is. So I'm excited to re-introduce a package of bills that would help mold our food system into one that is more competitive, resilient, humane, and just for everyone.”