Report: Poultry Workers Forced to Wear Diapers to Increase Efficiency
This is the sad state of American agriculture
For today’s dose of horrifying news, the poultry industry comes up big: According to a new report by Oxfam America workers at some poultry plants across the country face abysmal working conditions where they are denied bathroom breaks and often soil themselves while working so as not to lose their jobs.
Debbie Berkowitz, who is recognized in the acknowledgments of Oxfam’s report, detailed some of the reports findings in an article in Quartz. Among what she has observed in poultry plants: “Poultry workers stand shoulder to shoulder on both sides of long conveyor belts, most using scissors or knives, in cold, damp, loud conditions.”
Employees at plants in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Delaware, among other states, reported that they were not permitted to leave the processing line to use the bathroom, and many said they wore diapers to work to deal with the problem.
“Poultry workers are humiliated, degraded, and put at risk of serious, painful health issues including urinary tract infections, because supervisors are under pressure to keep up production,” Berkowitz wrote.
Oxfam is launching a campaign to address the health and safety issues workers face in chicken processing plants, and the organization was set to rally in front of Tyson’s Arkansas headquarters Wednesday. Tyson Foods did not respond to requests for comment on the report.
Unseen labor conditions trigger problems across the industry. Last year, questions arose over whether restaurants in the U.S. were serving slave labor shrimp, and many are calling for more transparency at all levels of the supply chain.
- Big Poultry workers are literally peeing their pants so that Americans can have cheap chicken [Quartz]
- The Hellish Conditions Facing Workers At Chicken Processing Plants [ThinkProgress]
- Is Slave Labor Shrimp Being Served in American Restaurants? [E]
- Fighting Slave Labor in the Food Supply Chain [E]