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Member since: Sun Jan 3, 2010, 01:16 AM
Number of posts: 2,918

About Me

Was once a republican. long long ago, in a far, far away place. I apologize.

Journal Archives

Federal Inspectors Decry Lack of Transparency on Meat Plant Coronavirus Outbreaks

Source: GovExec.com

By Eric Katz, Govexec.com

Federal meat and poultry inspectors are raising concerns about a lack of transparency surrounding the safety of the processing plants where they work, saying local leaders are withholding information relating to the spread of the novel coronavirus at facilities.

The frustration comes as companies are starting to reopen facilities around the country after President Trump issued an executive order seeking to compel a reversal at those that had shuttered their doors due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Employees said the agency has ceased answering their questions and responding to concerns, and state officials have stopped providing information regarding employee safety.

The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 6,500 Food Safety Inspection Service employees at the Agriculture Department, specifically cited Gov. Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., for his administration’s decision to no longer provide data of infection rates at specific food processing plants. At many communities with large meat processing facilities, coronavirus outbreaks have traced back almost entirely to the plants. The trend has led to facility closures or shift reductions, and thousands of plant employees and hundreds of federal inspectors contracting the virus. Without the data, the union said, employees and inspectors cannot take proper precautions.

“Hiding the number of infections from the public doesn't make the infections go away,” said Gregg James, vice president of the AFGE council that includes Nebraska inspectors. “If anything, it encourages this deadly virus to spread further by giving people a false sense of security.”

Read more: https://www.govexec.com/workforce/2020/05/federal-inspectors-decry-lack-transparency-meat-plant-coronavirus-outbreaks/165451/

Now USDA Management is sending meat inspectors blind into plants that some have never worked in before, without letting them know just how bad it is inside. Inspectors are NOT happy about this- but the only thing they can do is shine the light on government hiding the numbers of infected. Hey- would some reporters please file FOIA asking how many are reporting Sick, and what plants have sick Fed inspectors ? Then publish the data?

So far, more than 200 of my fellow USDA Federal Meat Inspectors have caught Covid-19, and 5 have died. Now they are hiding which plants have current infections going out of control, so that they can put out as much product before the plants collapse from sick workers. Federal Inspectors can’t refuse to work, or else they will get fired.

I put in my retirement paperwork

This week.

I am a federal employee, with 33 years of service, and turn 60 in August. I had planned to work until age 62 or so, but this Covid thing has changed my plans.

I know some meat inspectors - thank GOD I am not one of them. They are being forced to work inside meat plants with no protection. Their only choice is to quit or risk the virus with no PPE gear.

I’m tired of seeing my beloved country, whom I have faithfully worked for these last 33 years- I’m tired of seeing my country destroyed by these people. I’m tired of seeing Republican partisanship damage and destroy the professional non-partisan civil service.
I’m tired of an Administration who gives ZERO Fu$&s about the men and women who go above and beyond on a daily basis to hold thus nation together. I’ve had it.

I will be working from home until my retirement goes through in August. Should they decide to try and make me go back before then, and go back into the office of 100 other federal workers, I’ll simply go in at night, clean out my desk, and leave a note saying goodbye on my computer.

My pension will be small, but will be enough to survive. It will take until August to get my paperwork pushed through for what I hope will be a seamless transition into retired pay with minimal delays.

Then I can spend September through November calling people to vote to get rid of that menace in the White House.

Federal Inspectors Are Fearful, Angry About Trump's Order to Reopen Outbreak-Stricken Meat Plants

Source: Govexec.com

USDA is still not providing masks and is doing "absolutely nothing" to protect workers, inspectors say.

By Eric Katz

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, who has lobbied companies and local leaders to keep plants open even as hotspots developed, said the department would keep employees safe. He said USDA would work with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement guidelines for reopening plants.

“USDA will continue to work with its partners across the federal government to ensure employee safety to maintain this essential industry,” Perdue said.

Employees, however, said they have received no details on how the department will keep that promise. FSIS is still not providing personal protective equipment—including masks—to its inspectors, instead offering a one-time $50 stipend for employees to procure their own. On Wednesday, FSIS held telephonic town halls with employees, as it has done each week during the pandemic. For the first time, however, FSIS took no questions from employees, citing “inappropriate” leaks to the media and privacy concerns.

“We’re pretty angry about it,” one inspector said of the one-sided town hall he listened to. “They said they would answer the most frequently asked questions but they’re not doing that.”

Read more: https://www.govexec.com/workforce/2020/04/federal-inspectors-are-fearful-angry-about-trumps-order-reopen-outbreak-stricken-meat-plants/165051/

King “”Dump” ordering Federal Employee meat inspectors to work with NO PROTECTION, and it’s illegal for federal workers to refuse to work or strike.

The USDA Management is offering employees ONE TIME $50 to go try and buy some kind of face mask to keep their own snot out of the meat?

USDA MGT doesn’t have a clue what protection is required- it’s just like doctors- if you are elbow to elbow with other workers in a slaughterhouse, a bandanna isn’t the protection you need, and a ONE TIME $50 to try and buy masks, faceshields, and gowns sufficient to protect yourself as a meat inspector?


Let them eat cake.

Shut the meat plants down until Federal Government protects their own employees!
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