The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union says the poultry industry responded slowly to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Union says that over the past month, it has been imploring poultry industry employers like Tyson Foods, Equity Foods, JBS/Pilgrim’s Pride, Koch Foods and Wayne Farms to implement critical standards to protect workers’ safety and to secure the food supply chain. 

The industry’s response, “for the most part has only been recent, sporadic and limited to a few locations, leaving most workers unprotected,” according to the union. 

The organization represents 10,000 workers across the southeastern United States, many in food processing and distribution. 

However, the National Chicken Council Wednesday said the industry is “doing everything they can” to keep workers safe and chicken on the shelves, in that order. 

National Chicken Council President Mike Brown says, “Our members are following all of the CDC and local health department guidelines, and many have consulted with infectious disease physicians to develop site plans.”