Author: Omaid Zabih

Take Action: The 4th Coronavirus Relief Package must include All Americans

As the country continues to navigate the public health and economic crisis, it is critical for Congress to respond to the vital needs of our communities by passing an inclusive, fourth coronavirus relief package. This legislation must ensure that testing, medical care, financial relief, food assistance, and foster care funding covers all Americans, regardless of immigration status. As federal policymakers… Read more →

Take Action: Support paid sick and family leave that protects all Americans

Last week, the House passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, to address the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus. This legislation focused on supporting families as we all prioritize the safety and well-being of our communities across the state by including paid sick and family leave, expanding unemployment insurance, food assistance, increased Medicaid funding, and free COVID-19… Read more →

Take Action: Tell your Representatives to support The NO BAN Act

This week, the House will vote on The NO BAN Act, which would repeal the Trump administration’s destructive Muslim, asylum, and refugee bans, and limits future administrations from enacting similar bans. Nebraskans recognize the great contributions new families bring to our communities. These harmful policies run contrary to Nebraska’s values of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers by cruelly turning our… Read more →

Take Action: Dream and Promise Act passed the House Judiciary!

Last week, the American Dream and Promise Act passed out of the House Judiciary committee. These bills would provide protections to Dreamers and longtime residents with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status who are part of the fabric of communities across our state of Nebraska and the nation. Did you know the average age of a… Read more →

Statement: A Step in the Right Direction for Positive Immigration Laws

***For Immediate Release*** Thursday, May 23, 2019 Contact: Magdalena Cazarez Communications Director (402) 438-8853 Ext. 119 A Step in the Right Direction for Positive Immigration Laws Longtime immigrant Nebraskans need permanent protections to continue contributing to local communities   LINCOLN – Yesterday, the Dream Act and American Promise Act passed out of the House Judiciary committee. These positive, long… Read more →

How the Federal Shutdown Impacts SNAP in Nebraska

If you are one of the 166,000 people in Nebraska who receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or if you are considering applying for SNAP benefits, you may be wondering how the partial government shutdown may impact SNAP in Nebraska. Here are the important things for you to know: If you have a January recertification deadline,… Read more →

Take Action – Reject White House’s latest cruel, anti-immigrant plan

Last week, the Trump Administration announced a proposal that would radically alter immigration law and undermine our nation’s long-standing commitment to welcoming immigrants. The proposal would stop many aspiring Americans from being able to become lawful permanent residents if they have used certain work-support programs or temporary safety nets that help many hard-working families continue their jobs and move out… Read more →

Fight back against the House’s anti-Dreamer bills

Over the past few years, Nebraskans across the state have stood with hard-working, talented young Dreamers, whose roots have been planted in this state since childhood. Dreamers like Joseline and Joel grew up in Nebraska, went to our schools, and are starting their careers here. Now, they and their families are under threat and need our help. At a time… Read more →

Public pressure leads Tyson Foods to announce intent to improve work conditions

For many years, meat and poultry workers, together with a broad coalition of workers’ rights and civil rights groups from across the country, have continued a concerted effort to highlight the industry’s dangerous conditions and the all-too-common permanently disabling injuries that come from crippling work speeds. Oxfam America – together with these allies – began a poultry worker justice campaign… Read more →

Agency cites poultry processor for worker safety violations

Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued over 20 citations to Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the largest poultry processors in the country, for violations of health and safety standards. Notably, OSHA took an important step to address the shoddy and dangerous medical treatment of poultry workers by citing Pilgrim’s Pride for failing to provide appropriate medical care… Read more →

No Relief: New Study shows Poultry Workers regularly denied Bathroom Breaks

While meatpacking and poultry workers have to deal with crippling work speeds every day that cause high rates of devastating and permanent injuries, they also suffer other abuses and indignities at work which undermine their safety and health. One of the most common issues that workers consistently point to as a serious safety risk is that employers routinely deny workers… Read more →

Yet another worker survey reveals crippling conditions and abuse in poultry plants

The Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center (NWAWJC) recently released a superb report on Arkansas’ poultry industry called “Wages and Working Conditions in Arkansas Poultry Plants.” The report, which examines a large industry in Arkansas – the state ranks second in the U.S. for broiler production– comes soon after an excellent report on the poultry industry from Oxfam America. NWAWJC surveyed an… Read more →

Appleseed joins Supreme Court brief on deferred action

Earlier this week, Nebraska Appleseed joined a coalition of 224 immigration, civil rights, labor, and social service groups to file an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court. The brief urged the Court to review Texas v. United States, a case that has temporarily blocked implementation of the President’s administrative relief programs for those who qualify for expanded Deferred… Read more →

Tell large chicken companies that workers deserve safe conditions, fair pay

Oxfam America has recently released an expansive and troubling report on America’s poultry industry entitled “Lives on the Line: The Human Cost of Cheap Chicken”. (you can also read a pdf version of the report here) The report’s immersive website contains many eye-opening and informative web graphics and videos. The excellent report documents many personal stories from workers, unpacks the… Read more →

More evidence work speed takes crippling toll on meatpacking and poultry workers

Earlier this month, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a study of a Maryland poultry plant which found that 34 percent of workers had carpal tunnel syndrome while an alarming 76 percent exhibited signs of nerve damage. As NIOSH noted in a blog post accompanying the release of its report, more than half of the positions… Read more →

Appleseed joins legal support for administrative relief to keep families together

This week, Nebraska Appleseed joined more than 150 civil rights, labor, and immigration advocacy groups in an amicus brief urging the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a harmful decision that temporarily blocked implementation of the President’s administrative relief program to keep families together. The brief highlights the benefits of administrative relief for our economy and the value to… Read more →

Workers’ compensation cuts are putting injured workers into poverty

Last Wednesday, ProPublica and NPR launched a detailed and extensive series on the troubling trend of states reducing workers’ compensation benefits over the past 10 years. These reductions – drastic in some states – have left workers who were injured on the job without support for medical treatment and recovery to get back to work. In fact, the report states… Read more →

The Nation highlights the costs of massive work speed ups

For those following the longstanding problems of high injury rates and relentless work speeds in meat and poultry processing, this may sound familiar. An important new article from The Nation, “Americans Are Working So Hard It’s Actually Killing People,” outlines how “the jobless recovery means massive speedups for many workers you depend on.” In industries as varied as nursing, meatpacking,… Read more →

Federal investigation reveals plant routinely exposed workers to serious injuries

Yesterday, OSHA issued 11 serious safety and health citations to Wayne Farms, resulting in fines over $100,000. The agency found that one of Wayne Farms’ poultry plants in Alabama exposed workers to dangerous musculoskeletal hazards and serious injuries, and failed to accurately record and manage injuries suffered by workers. OSHA documented what medical evidence, reports, and surveys have shown for… Read more →

Every U.S. President since Eisenhower has taken Executive Action on Immigration

According to a new report by the American Immigration Council (AIC), ever since the United States Congress first passed a comprehensive immigration law in 1952, every one of the 11 U.S. Presidents since have used their legal authority to take executive action on immigration. This report — as well as a handy “By the Numbers” summary from the Center for… Read more →

Humanitarian crisis requires acting in children’s best interests

Note: This post by Appleseed Child Welfare Director Sarah Helvey and Immigrants & Communities staff attorney Omaid Zabih addresses the recent humanitarian crisis in Central America that has resulted in children seeking asylum in the U.S. Tens of thousands of children from Central America have been forced to flee from their home countries to the border due to unimaginable violence.… Read more →

Congressmen, Workers, and Advocates ask USDA to pluck the Poultry Rule

Yesterday, U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson (Mississippi), Marcia Fudge (Ohio), and Shelia Jackson-Lee (Texas), along Hilary O. Shelton, the NAACP’s senior vice president for policy and advocacy, joined poultry workers in Washington, D.C., to strongly urge the Obama Administration to stop the USDA’s proposed poultry rule. This proposal would permit poultry processing plants to increase the speed of the processing line,… Read more →

House takes steps toward new immigration laws

Last week, the House Republican leadership released a set of principles for updating our country’s immigration laws. We were encouraged to see the release of these principles as an indication that this year’s legislative agenda will include immigration reform, which unfortunately stalled in the House after the Senate passed a historic bipartisan bill last year. This inaction – in the… Read more →

“Warning horns should blast full force” about proposed Poultry Rule

The Charlotte Observer has published two strong pieces in the past few days that address the risks of the USDA’s proposed poultry rule — a rule that would increase line speeds to a punishing 175 birds per minute and decrease the number of federal inspectors in favor of company-trained (or not trained) employees. These changes would considerably increase the risk… Read more →

Increased line speeds means more risk to food and worker safety

Bloomberg BusinessWeek has published a compelling piece today by Ted Genoways who examines the work and food safety issues of five U.S. pork plants that have been participating in a pilot program that increases the processing line’s work speed and reduces the number of federal inspectors, including the Hormel plant in Fremont, Nebraska. This pilot program is identical to the… Read more →

Thanksgiving draws attention to poultry workers’ safety

Today, as the Thanksgiving turkey gets pardoned by the President and as Americans get ready to spend time with their families for the holiday, we would like to highlight some excellent blog posts and articles that call attention to how a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture would be harmful to consumer and worker safety. These posts clearly… Read more →

USDA continues to push for dangerous poultry rule in spite of mounting evidence

Dr.Celeste Monforton, a health and safety expert who writes at The Pump Handle, a health and safety blog, wrote a superb post last week that expresses disbelief at the USDA’s insistence – in the face of extensive and contradictory evidence – that the poultry rule will improve food safety. Dr. Monforton lists all of the evidence that has piled up… Read more →

New USDA poultry rule poses great risk to food and workers’ safety

Last week, a coalition of worker and food safety advocates and allies gathered in front of the White House and rolled out a petition that contained over 500,000 names of people from all over the country who strongly oppose the USDA’s proposed poultry rule. This dangerous rule would increase the already high speed of the production line to an unfathomable… Read more →

Civil Rights Groups Urge OSHA, USDA to Protect Poultry, Meatpacking Plant Workers

Workers Suffer Injuries, Illnesses Due to Punishing Processing Line Speeds A coalition of civil rights groups filed a formal petition today urging the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to better protect workers in poultry and meatpacking plants where federal policies allow workers to operate in hazardous conditions that often leave them… Read more →

Brief filed to 8th Circuit Court to reconsider Fremont anti-immigrant ordinance

Earlier this week, an amicus brief written by Jenner & Block and Latino Justice on behalf of a number of national Latino organizations and Nebraska Appleseed, was filed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals asking the court to reconsider its ruling on Fremont’s anti-immigrant ordinance. The brief details the discriminatory and devastating effects the ordinance has on the community… Read more →

Supreme Court recognizes importance of diversity in Fisher ruling

Last week, in its decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the critical principle that universities may use racial and ethnic diversity as one factor of many to select qualified candidates as part of a carefully crafted admissions policy. This ruling is a victory for diversity, equal opportunity, and the future of our… Read more →

Harper’s Magazine goes undercover at Nebraska meatpacking plant

Over the weekend, the Lincoln Journal Star published an article about Tom Conover, an award-winning journalist, who went “undercover” as a USDA inspector in a Nebraska meatpacking plant and has recounted his experience in the May 2013 cover story for Harper’s Magazine. (Conover’s article, “The Way of All Flesh”, is available online with a Harper’s subscription.) During his time at… Read more →

“It’s a house of pain in there.” A major new report on worker and food safety

Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Alabama Appleseed released Unsafe at These Speeds, a major new report that exposes the dangers poultry plants pose to consumer and worker health — dangers likely to intensify under proposed regulatory changes for the industry. Modeled after Nebraska Appleseed’s 2009 meatpacking safety study, The Speed Kills You, this new study provides the next… Read more →

How Do You Define ‘American’?

How do you define “American”? Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas asked this important question at the end of his testimony Wednesday to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who held a hearing over modernizing our federal immigration laws. Like Jose, we believe being American runs deeper than documentation. It’s about working hard, providing for your family, being proud of your country,… Read more →

New immigration policy change will help preserve American families

How we treat immigrants should reflect our commitment to the values that define us as Americans. We all believe families should stick together and yet, our current immigration policies, unfortunately and too often, tear families apart instead of strengthening them – including U.S. citizens and immigrant family members. On Wednesday, however, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced a change in… Read more →

Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments on Fremont’s anti-immigrant law

Earlier Today, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments over Fremont’s anti-immigrant ordinance, a draconian law that established significant barriers to housing and employment in an attempt to make life for immigrants in Fremont nearly impossible. Although the core of the housing ordinance was found to be unconstitutional by the district court, a licensing provision that would force… Read more →

An Insider’s Perspective on the Proposed USDA Poultry Rule

Last week, we wrote about our concerns with the proposed new USDA rule for poultry processing.  The new rule would drastically increase the speeds on the production line at which plants are allowed to run, which would make an already dangerous workplace even more unsafe.  It would give inspectors only one-third of a second to inspect birds for diseases and… Read more →

Coalition Urges USDA to Withdraw Poultry Slaughter Proposal Due to Food Safety, Worker Safety Concerns

A coalition of 23 groups and 16 individuals today urged the Department of Agriculture to withdraw a proposal that increases poultry processing line speeds and removes hundreds of federal inspectors from poultry processing plants. The proposal, which would modify USDA’s poultry slaughter inspection program, increases the poultry line speed to an unsafe level and allows plant employees to replace federal… Read more →

More groups take stances opposing Fremont’s oppressive anti-immigrant ordinance

Last week, several civil rights organizations filed amicus briefs in the federal case opposing Fremont’s anti-immigrant ordinance.  It is encouraging so many groups are standing against this measure that is clearly damaging to the fabric of the community. Nebraska Appleseed filed our own amicus brief in opposition to the ordinance in July.  In our brief, we highlighted the Voices from… Read more →

In Advance of Labor Day, Advocates Appeal to International Body Regarding Meatpacking Workers’ Rights

Worker health and food safety compromised in modern meat and poultry processing plants Chicago and Minneapolis – As the Labor Day holiday celebrating workers approaches, the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights and Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requesting a hearing to address serious human rights abuses in… Read more →

A Step Forward for Aspiring U.S. Citizens

Tomorrow, applications for the important new deferred action policy for DREAMers will be released. This worthwhile policy grants temporary relief from deportation for DREAMers – young, aspiring citizens who have grown up in the United States – and allows applicants to apply for a two-year work permit. Most important, it reaffirms that these youth are already Americans in all but… Read more →

Hope for DREAMers, a Sensible Immigration System, and Time for Action…

On Friday, June 15th, President Obama announced an encouraging new policy that will grant relief from deportations for undocumented youth who are known as DREAMers. These young immigrants grew up in United States and dream of using their education and skills to contribute to society. They are American in all ways except for one—paperwork—but last week’s announcement was a long-awaited… Read more →

Today at the Supreme Court: Can a State Create Its Own Immigration System?

Earlier today the United States Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the constitutionality of Arizona’s notorious state-level immigration enforcement law, S.B. 1070, in Arizona v. United States.  Yesterday we described the socially toxic and economically self-defeating outcomes that have resulted from Arizona-style laws. Today, we will outline the legal arguments of the case, in which the U.S. government is challenging a… Read more →

Arizona Law: Socially Toxic and Economically Self-Defeating

Tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding the constitutionality of Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, S.B. 1070, in the case Arizona v. United States.  As the Court considers aspects of the law’s legality, it is also important to consider its functionality. Ever since this extreme law passed in 2010, its stated purpose of “enforcement through attrition”… Read more →

Nebraska Workers’ Compensation System Should Help, Not Drive Away, Workers

LB 1012 undermines the wise purpose of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation system by tipping the scales against injured employees. Upholding the system is important for all of us. We have a public interest in ensuring that employers maintain safe workplaces. We also have a public interest in preventing the cost of workplace injuries from spilling over onto Nebraska communities, families,… Read more →

Midwest Organizations Appeal to International Forum Concerning Meatpacking Safety

The Midwest Coalition for Human Rights and Nebraska Appleseed have submitted a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requesting an October hearing to address serious human rights violations in meatpacking and poultry processing plants across the U.S. The IACHR is a permanent body mandated by the Organization of American States that promotes and protects human rights in… Read more →