Tag: Worker Safety

“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 →