The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the largest union representing U.S. meatpacking workers, said Friday it opposes the Trump administration’s push to reopen plants across the country amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"Today's rush by the Trump Administration to re-open 14 meatpacking plants without the urgent safety improvements needed is a reckless move that will put American lives at risk and further endanger the long-term security of our nation’s food supply," union President Marc Perrone said in a statement. The union represents 250,000 food and meat processing workers in the U.S.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Friday that 14 meatpacking plants that been closed due to the coronavirus would reopen within the next 10 days.

“President Trump took decisive action last week to ensure America’s meatpacking facilities reopen in a safe way to ensure America’s producers and ranchers will be able to bring their product to market,” Perdue said. “I want to thank the patriotic and heroic meatpacking facility workers who are returning to work this week so the millions of Americans who depend on them for food security can continue to do so.”

Last week, Trump signed an executive order urging meat-packing plants to stay open in order to preserve the nation’s food supply chain.

Meatpacking plants have been hotspots for the virus. On Wednesday, more than 1,000 workers at a Tyson Foods plant in Iowa, tested positive for the coronavirus. In April, an outbreak at a Smithfield Foods plant in South Dakota resulted in over 800 employees getting sick from the virus, forcing the plant to shut down temporarily.

Around 170 U.S. meatpacking plants have reported cases of the coronavirus, with the Centers for Disease Control claiming that nearly 5,000 workers have fallen ill. Thirty-eight factories have been forced to temporarily cease operations due to outbreaks.

Some popular restaurants, such as fast-food chain Wendy’s, have encountered a meat shortage due to the virus.

There have been worries that employees at meatpacking plants may have to risk their health in order to keep the nation’s food supply intact.

"They can't work at home, they have to show up, and if they don't show up, they lose their jobs," Carolyn Dimitri, associate professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, told the BBC. "Unfortunately, almost our entire food system depends upon vulnerable workers."

The United States currently has more cases of the coronavirus than any other country. As of Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, there are nearly 1.3 million cases of the virus, with the domestic death toll over 77,000.