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Joint Statement on Title VI Dismissal

The complainants (Food Chain Workers Alliance, the Rural Community Workers Alliance, the HEAL Food Alliance, Forward Latino, American Friends Service Committee – Iowa, and the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils) are represented by Public Justice, Nichols Kaster PLLP, and Towards Justice, and issued a joint statement in response to the USDA’s dismissal of the civil rights complaint:

“The United States Department of Agriculture’s dismissal of our civil rights complaint regarding racial discrimination at Tyson and JBS represents an abdication of that agency’s responsibility to use  the authority granted by the Civil Rights Act to protect the country’s predominantly Black, Asian, and Latino meat processing workers from harm.

We don’t agree with USDA’s unexplained justification for throwing out this urgent plea on behalf of workers who are continually under threat of serious illness and death. The USDA dismissed the plea on the basis that the federal funding that supports these megacorporations is supposedly unrelated to employment. Regardless, it is beyond question that the high rates of infection among meat processing workers at Tyson and JBS plants are a defining racial justice and public health issue. 

Workers’ demands are gaining momentum as the public and elected representatives recognize the racial discrimination in the meat processing industry. The current administration has attempted to abdicate responsibility, making it even more important for Congress to act quickly to pass the Every Worker Protection Act, which will compel the Occupational Safety & Health Administration to issue a temporary emergency standard requiring all employers to provide specific and necessary protections for all essential workers, including meat processing workers.”