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Court Ends Meatpacking Companies’ Bid to Challenge Ruling on Faster Line Speeds

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit today unanimously affirmed a Minnesota federal district court decision that rejected a belated attempt by three meatpacking companies to intervene in a case brought by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and three of its locals, represented by Public Citizen Litigation Group. The companies sought to intervene only after the district court set aside a Trump-era U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule allowing unlimited line speeds at pork processing plants, which was adopted without regard to its impacts on worker health and safety. In today’s decision, the court of appeals affirmed that the companies’ attempt to intervene months after the district court’s ruling was untimely.

Adam Pulver, Public Citizen attorney and lead attorney for the plaintiffs, released the following statement:

“This decision is a straightforward and resounding rejection of meatpacking companies’ attempt to get a second bite of the apple after their efforts to defend a patently flawed rule failed. Meatpacking jobs are some of the most dangerous in America – a fact confirmed by the massive COVID-19 outbreaks in plants over the past two years. Despite the massive losses suffered by America’s meatpacking workers, the plants continued this appeal rather than take steps to protect worker safety. America’s meatpacking workers deserve better. Nearly three years after this case was filed, we are pleased that it has finally come to an end.”