This is an excerpt from an op-ed originally published in the Baltimore Sun. You can read the full op-ed here.
President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to order meat and poultry plants to continue operating despite COVID-19 outbreaks, exposing Maryland's poultry workers to enormous risks. Poultry processors haven't demonstrated they're able to keep workers safe and healthy, but they know that many of these low-wage workers will be forced to return. To top it all off, one of the president's goals with this order was to provide legal immunity to companies, so that they can't be sued by employees who are infected as a result of unsafe working conditions.
All the risks cascade down onto the workers. Many are from immigrant backgrounds and don't speak English. They're also exempted from vital protections, federal relief packages, and can't access COVID-19 treatment and care. We're standing in solidarity with these brave workers, and urging everyone else to do so, too.
COVID-19 has been wreaking havoc on workers forced to continue working in crowded conditions, with few breaks or protective gear, in the region's poultry processing facilities. Their employers' failures to control these hazards have resulted in a rapid escalation in …