“All I know is, this is crazy to me, because I can’t see all these people going back into work,” said Donald, who works at Tyson’s Waterloo, Iowa, facility. “I don’t think people are going to go back in there.”
Donald asked to be referred to by his first name only. He is currently recovering after testing positive for the virus.
“I’m still trying to figure out: What is he going to do, force them to stay open? Force people to go to work?” he asked.
CNN Business has spoken to employees in several Tyson plants who do not want to be named for fear of losing their jobs.
By invoking the Defense Production Act, Trump is requiring plants to remain open with some of the most dangerous conditions during the pandemic.
Over the years, meat processing companies have been speeding up production lines to process more meat in each facility. Faster lines require more workers who have to stand closer together.
But by signing the order, Trump declared these plants part of critical infrastructure in the United States.
“We’re going to sign an executive order today, I believe, and that’ll solve any liability problems,” Trump said on Tuesday.
One worker who is employed at Tyson’s Waterloo, Iowa, facility held out hope regarding Trump’s order.
“All in all, it can be a good thing if done right,” the person said. “But my faith in this administration has never been strong and is nonexistent currently. I wanna know what these added ‘liability protections’ are going to be.”
Other workers are skeptical.
“I just don’t know how they’re going to do it when there are people dying and getting really sick,” said an employee of Tyson’s Independence, Iowa, plant. “Who’s to say people are even gonna show up to work?”
– CNN’s Ramon Escobar, Kaitlan Collins and Maegan Vazquez contributed to this report