Iowa Poll: Nearly half say meatpacking plants have adequate oversight to protect workers
Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register (IA)
Jun 19, 2020
Nearly half of Iowans say they think meatpacking plants have adequate oversight to protect worker safety as they reopen, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows.
Meatpacking plants in Iowa have closed or slowed production in recent weeks as thousands of Iowa meatpacking workers have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least seven of them have died from COVID-19, the disease the virus causes.
The poll shows 47% of Iowans say they expect meatpacking plants will have adequate oversight to protect workers' safety as they return to their jobs, while 38% say they will not. Another 14% are unsure.
Unions have pushed JBS, Tyson, Smithfield and other giant meatpackers for more employee safeguards and increased testing. Tyson and other companies say they’ve added plexiglass barriers in work and break areas; mandated workers wear face protection; and added high-tech temperature readers and on-site health care teams.
Nationally, at least 25,000 meatpacking plant workers have tested positive in 235 plants across 33 states. An estimated 90 people working in 39 plants have died, according to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.
Republicans are more likely to say meatpacking plants will have adequate oversight at 71%, the poll shows, while 63% of Democrats expect oversight will be inadequate.