Tag: Worker Safety

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 →

RELEASE – Nearing Thanksgiving, poultry workers, advocates demand safer work conditions

For Immediate Release November 19, 2015   Contact: Jeff Sheldon Communications Director Nebraska Appleseed Office: 402-438-8853 Mobile: 402-840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Thanksgiving places the Human Cost of our food Front and Center Poultry and meat workers call for safe working conditions, fair wages, and increased worker voice   As millions of Americans sit down for their Thanksgiving meal next week, most don’t think about… 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 →

RELEASE – OSHA denies workplace protections to meatpacking, poultry workers

***For Immediate Release*** March 18, 2015   CONTACT Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Emma Weinstein-Levey Southern Poverty Law Center (334) 324-6580 emma.levey@splcenter.org     Meat and Poultry Workers Denied Better Workplace Protections by Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA: Lack of Resources Preventing Action to Protect Workers   MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The U.S.… 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 →

Civil rights groups demand formal OSHA response on worker protections

For Immediate Release December 17, 2014 Contact: Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Kyleah Starling, Southern Poverty Law Center Phone: (334) 956-8420 kyleah.starling@splcenter.org Civil rights groups demand formal OSHA response on worker protections Letter requests written response to 2013 petition demanding safeguards from crippling injuries LINCOLN — Today, a coalition of civil… 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 →

RELEASE – Feds issue historic fine to poultry plant for injuries and abuses

For Immediate Release October 30, 2014 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 Email: jsheldon@neappleseed.org   OSHA issues noteworthy fine to poultry plant for injuries and abuses Violations echo concerns of Nebraska meatpacking and poultry workers Yesterday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a fine of more than $100,000 to an Alabama… Read more →

RELEASE – Final approval given to dangerous USDA Poultry Rule

***For Immediate Release*** Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Obama Administration Approves Dangerous USDA Poultry Rule Advocate coalition decries regulation as harmful to food and worker safety LINCOLN — Today, despite the opposition of hundreds of thousands of consumers, dozens of Members of Congress, and more than 100 food and worker safety… Read more →

Organizations call on Obama administration to reveal changes to USDA proposed poultry rule, and open for comment

***For Immediate Release*** July 16, 2014 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org  New poultry industry standards threaten to endanger workers’ health, food safety, and animal welfare On July 10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget a final version of a new rule… Read more →

USDA questioned about line speed impact on worker, food safety

As the USDA continues to push its proposal to allow increased line speeds in poultry plants – with dangerous implications for food and worker safety – a Washington Post article raises new questions: Did USDA mislead the public, Congress about risks for poultry workers? Just the week before, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued an unusually… Read more →

Teresa’s Story: Crippling work speeds lead to permanent pain and injuries

Note: As we reported last week, meatpacking and poultry workers, Nebraska Appleseed, the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights, and Southern Poverty Law Center testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on March 25. The Commission is investigating crippling injuries and human rights abuses in U.S. meat and poultry processing facilities. Petitioners called for better U.S. government policies to protect… Read more →

Four surgeries and disabled after 8 years working in meatpacking plants

Note: As we reported earlier this week, meatpacking and poultry workers, Nebraska Appleseed, the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights, and Southern Poverty Law Center testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on March 25. The Commission is investigating crippling injuries and human rights abuses in U.S. meat and poultry processing facilities. Petitioners called for better U.S. government policies to… Read more →

Commission investigates human rights violations in meatpacking, poultry plants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 25, 2013 Contact: Apreill Hartsfield Southern Poverty Law Center (334) 782-6624 apreill.hartsfield@splcenter.org Jeff Sheldon Nebraska Appleseed (402) 438-8853 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Hears Testimony About Worker Abuse in U.S. Meatpacking, Poultry Plants  WASHINGTON – Civil rights groups and meat and poultry workers testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today, describing how the… Read more →

Nebraska Workers to Testify to International Human Rights Commission

Over the last couple of years we have kept you informed on the high rates of crippling injuries in meatpacking and poultry processing and our fight against the USDA’s dangerous Poultry Rule, which will further increase work speeds and remove federal food safety inspectors, posing great dangers to food and workers’ safety. Washington Post: “Poultry workers take fight to Capitol… Read more →

RELEASE: Congressional Leaders, Poultry Workers Urge the Administration to Take Action to stop harmful USDA Poultry Rule

WASHINGTON – Congressman Bennie Thompson and other congressional leaders joined poultry workers today urging the Administration to stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from allowing poultry plants to increase processing line speeds – a decision likely to lead to more worker injuries and threaten food safety in Nebraska and across the country. The USDA plans to enact new regulations… 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 →

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 →

Take Action! 1/3 of a Second Isn’t Long Enough to Keep Food and Workers Safe

As Thanksgiving preparations begin, take just a moment to help stop a proposed new rule that would make food and workers less safe next year. A new rule proposed by the USDA would increase line speed in poultry plants, giving inspectors only 1/3 of a second to inspect each chicken — risking your food and workers’ safety. Help stop the… Read more →

New report highlights dangerous working conditions in Midwest meat and poultry plants

A coalition of more than 50 Midwest human rights organizations, including Nebraska Appleseed, released a new report today that confirms dangerous conditions still exist for food and worker safety in meat and poultry processing plants. The report, titled “Always Working Beyond the Capacity of Our Bodies: Meat and Poultry Processing Work Conditions and Human Rights in the Midwest,” summarizes in-depth… 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 →

While Studies Show Line Speed Is Crippling Poultry Workers, USDA Proposes Doubling the Allowable Speed

As we have heard from hundreds of people who work in meat and poultry processing, “the speed kills you.” Relentless work speed and thousands of repetitive motions cause workers’ hands to swell with pain and later lead to permanently crippling injuries. Workers are told they have to “learn to live with the pain,” and many undergo multiple surgeries on their… 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 →

Build A Stronger Nebraska Together

This summer, I met up with Omaha graphic designer Justin Kemerling of The Match Factory to discuss an idea for an Appleseed art exhibit.  We’ve worked with Justin on a number of Appleseed projects – most recently our Voices from Fremont poster exhibit chronicling how residents witnessed a sense of division, hostility, and suspicion in Fremont since the town passed a restrictive immigration ordinance in 2010.  Justin’s work… 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 →

Appleseed Receives OSHA Grant for Meatpackers’ Health & Safety

On Wednesday, Nebraska Appleseed received an $85,000 renewable Susan Harwood Capacity Building grant from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to support our meatpacking worker health and safety work. Appleseed is one of 45 nonprofits, community organizations, labor, and educational institutions receiving grants.

The Susan Harwood grants support training programs that educate workers and employers in industries with high injury and fatality rates; low literacy, young, limited English proficiency and otherwise vulnerable workers; and small business employers. They fund long-term programs that build safety and health competency within organizations. Read more →

Federal Government Officials Pledge Reforms to Protect Latino Workers’ Health and Safety

I had the exciting opportunity last week to attend the historic National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health and Safety, cosponsored by OSHA/U.S. Department of Labor and the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), in Houston, Texas.  Following the summit, I participated in a 3-day immigrant workers’ gathering where I had the chance to share the safety concerns… Read more →

OSHA Hears the Voices of Meatpacking Workers

Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) opened its doors to stakeholders from around the country for an all-day “OSHA Listens” event in its Washington, DC headquarters. The purpose of the event was for OSHA to receive comments and suggestions on key issues facing the agency in order to improve OSHA’s efforts to protect the safety and health… Read more →

“Come to the plant and you will see”: Meatpacking Workers Want You to Know About Unsafe Conditions

Last week we released a major study of meatpacking workers’ perspectives of health and safety conditions in the industry, surveying 455 workers in one of the country’s biggest meat-producing states: “The Speed Kills You”: The Voice of Nebraska’s Meatpacking Workers. Nebraska produces one of every four steaks and hamburgers in the country. Official statistics already show that injury rates in… Read more →

Safe Food Comes from a Safe Workplace

Every day, meatpacking workers in the U.S. face brutal working conditions in one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Injury rates are startlingly high – more than double that of U.S. manufacturing as a whole – and a 2005 GAO report found that even these government statistics undercount true injury rates. The industry’s massive disassembly lines can slaughter and… Read more →