Tag archives for poultry 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.
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis resigns; Walmart faces concerns about poor safety in warehouses and factories supplying its products; and Campylobacter infections in poultry-plant workers are more common among new employees and those working in certain jobs.
McClatchy Newspapers’ reporter Lindsay Wise reports in two new articles on a proposed USDA rule to allegedly “modernize” the poultry inspection process. USDA and the poultry industry are having a love fest over the proposal, but food safety and workers’ safety advocates oppose the rule. The White House will soon be deciding the rule’s fate.
The nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights organization issued an action alert to its members urging them to tell USDA Secretary Vilsack to withdraw a proposed rule that would allow poultry plant operators to increase assembly line speeds to 175 birds per minute. The majority of employees in poultry processing are Hispanic or other vulnerable workers.
Gabriel Thompson writes today in The Nation about a summer job he had a few years back, working on the assembly line at a Pilgrim’s Pride poultry plant in Alabama. The chickens flew by on hooks at 90 birds-per-minute as he sliced and cut the meat non-stop. It didn’t take long for him to meet…