Author: Omaid Zabih

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 →