Tag archives for poultry workers
Two recent incidents reminded me of what a worker said about “safety talks.”
The Obama Administration still has time to abandon its ill-conceived new regulation on poultry inspection. We’ll see if the Administration decides to treat poultry workers better than the firms that employ them.
The wisdom of USDA’s plan to privatize poultry inspection is striking newspaper editors as an unwise move. USDA is rebutting the opinion pieces, but their assertions need a dose of reality.
It’s bad enough having President Obama and his USDA pushing a new poultry inspection process that will injure workers. Now we have seven Democratic Senators who are also eager to screw the workers.
USDA continues to insist that worker safety concerns are OSHA’s responsibility, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that its proposed rule to “modernize” poultry slaughter inspection with dizzying line speeds will injure workers.
Senator Gillibrand’s “Safe Meat & Poultry Act” includes one short provision that really caught my eye. USDA would need to rely on OSHA’s determination on what is an appropriate line speed to ensure the health of plant workers is protected.
A fire in a Chinese poultry plant with narrow halls and locked exits killed 120 workers; a NIOSH study finds high rates of carpal tunnel syndrome among poultry workers and fuels concerns that USDA’s proposed rule allowing line-speed increases will increase health risks to workers; and Congress takes steps toward addressing military sexual assault.
The USDA Secretary tells Congress that his agency still plans to implement a new poultry slaughter inspection system that will allow producers to drastically increase line speeds, while a disturbing new report on poultry workers in Alabama explain the harmful effects of the current working conditions.
The Southern Poverty Law Center and Alabama Appleseed interviewed 300 Alabama poultry workers, and find that many have musculoskeletal problems linked to fast-moving processing lines. That problem could get even worse if a proposed USDA poultry rule to increase maximum line speeds takes effect.