Family Farm Action Alliance applauds today’s introduction of the Protecting America’s Meatpacking Workers Act of 2021 (PAMWA) by Senators Booker (D-NJ), Gillibrand (D-NY), and Blumenthal (D-CT) in the Senate, and by Representative Khanna (D-CA 17) in the House. The filing of this legislation demonstrates the legislators’ understanding that monopoly meatpackers abuse farmers, workers, and rural communities alike. The legislative package combats monopoly meatpackers’ control across the food and farm system with a multi-pronged approach: it strengthens labor laws to protect workers, increases farmer protections in the Packers and Stockyards Act, and reinstates Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for beef and pork sold in the United States.
“Corporate monopoly power strangles all hope of opportunity whether you are the worker, farmer or rancher, or a rural business. This legislation gives us common ground to take on our common enemy,” said Joe Maxwell, President of Family Farm Action Alliance. “We are thankful to the members of Congress who have filed this sweeping anti-monopoly legislation.”
Highlights of the PAMWA include:
- Restricts the Secretary of Agriculture from issuing line speed waivers.
- Requires employers with no fault attendance policies to distribute the policies timely and in writing.
- Requires the Secretary of Labor to ensure meat and poultry plant workers have basic rights to use the toilet when needed without punishment.
- Requires meat and poultry processing government grants include labor peace agreements.
- Provides greater workplace safety protections.
Farmer and Rancher Protections:
- Expands market opportunity by providing additional funding for meat and poultry processing and for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP).
- Restricts businesses receiving grants to expand meat and poultry processing from selling to any company that has over 10 percent of the market share for 10 years after receiving the grant.
- Restores Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for Beef and Pork and extends COOL to include dairy products.
- Increases farmer protections in the Packers and Stockyards Act.
- Requires a base price be established in a sale of livestock between a packer and a producer.
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