Mya Frazier for The Guardian: “’If one of us gets sick, we all get sick’: the food workers on the coronavirus front line”
April 20, 2020
Washington, DC — In a very timely and important in-depth article for The Guardian, the Open Markets Institute’s new Fellow Mya Frazier sounds the alarm on how working conditions in food processing facilities across the country endanger thousands of workers.
As Frazier makes clear, this is especially true during the COVID-19 crisis. At the time of publication, nearly 200 Tyson employees had tested positive for COVID-19, and four had died from complications of the disease. Hundreds of other employees at plants belonging to Smithfield, JBS, and other slaughterhouses have also been infected with the virus. The resulting shutdowns are already resulting in shortages of meat in supermarkets across America.
In The Guardian article, Frazier details how chicken processing is considered one of the most hazardous industries in the United States, forcing workers into tight quarters for grueling hours and low wages. Under threat of being fired or fined, scared workers don’t dare miss a day’s work. But as Sophia, a Tyson worker from Arkansas said, “We are all standing close together all the time… If one of us gets sick, all of us get sick.”
Read the full article on our website
Mya Frazier is an investigative journalist who writes about regional inequality from the Midwest. A regulator contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, her work has also appeared on NewYorker.com, Outside, Columbia Journalism Review, The New Republic, Slate, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Aeon, The New York Times, American Demographics, and Columbus Monthly. She is a former staff writer at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Advertising Age, and American City Business Journals. She has twice been awarded fellowships from the McGraw Center for Business Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. In 2018, she was the recipient of an 11th Hour Food & Farming Fellowship from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. She is currently at work on a book about the origins of regional inequality and company towns.