A salmonella outbreak in chicken that has sickened people more than 270 people in 18 states is the latest incident that has been impacted by the government shutdown caused by republicans in Congress. Workers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been on furlough since the shutdown began. Prior to the shutdown the CDC had just a few scientists working on outbreak detection resulting in a backlog of investigations. The CDC is now recalling some of its furloughed workers to deal with the outbreak but it will take time to catch up on the backlog. Meanwhile, people are continuing to get sick.
“This outbreak is another example that American lives are being put at risk while republican in Washington, D.C. hold the country hostage,” said Ken Boyd, president of UFCW Local 1546. “It’s time for America to get back to work.
Other examples of public safety include:
- The Food and Drug Administration has stopped routine inspections of food facilities in the United States.
- Federal occupational safety and health inspectors also have stopped most workplace checks.
- The government shutdown has also forced the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to stop its regular mine safety inspections, which normally occur every three months. Three mine workers died in separate accidents on three consecutive days during the past week.
“The government’s watchdog isn’t watching,” United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts said. “Safety violations that would normally be caught and corrected as a result of those inspections are being missed. Even the smallest violations, when allowed to accumulate, can lead to dangerous conditions very quickly in a coal mine.”
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UFCW Local 1546 represents workers in Illinois and Indiana in a diverse range of industries including grocery and drug retailers; meat cutting, processing, and packing; chemical works; nursing home and healthcare facilities, and many others.