Bloomberg Law
April 30, 2020, 6:33 PM

Trump’s Meatpacking-Plant Decree Set to Collide With State Laws

Bruce Rolfsen
Bruce Rolfsen
Fatima Hussein
Fatima Hussein
Legal Reporter

Worker safety advocates reject the notion that state and local governments can’t act to prevent coronavirus infections at meat processing plants President Donald Trump ordered to stay open.

The problem with the Labor Department and Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s position that Trump’s order preempts state and local action is that the federal agencies declined to enact an emergency health rule, said Patricia Smith, who served as the DOL’s top attorney during the Obama administration.

“There isn’t a health standard for infectious diseases,” said Smith, now of counsel with the National Employment Law Project. Without a rule, state and local ...

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