Undeterred by protests from slaughterhouse workers and a staggering number of infections, President Donald Trump signed an executive order late Tuesday to compel U.S. meat-processing plants to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump told reporters that the reason many plants were closing was owing to a “sort of a legal roadblock more than anything else,” and said the use of an executive order solves “liability problems.” Labor unions were quick to voice their disapproval, however. “We only wish that this administration cared as much about the lives of working people as it does about meat, pork, and poultry products,” Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said. Tyson Foods was forced to close a pork-processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, last week after more than 180 infections were linked to the plant. The company warned that closing the plant, which accounts for nearly 4 percent of U.S. pork-processing capacity, would have a significant effect on the food-supply chain.
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