Labor, Law

I recently described working in a coal mine in China as one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. The most dangerous factory job in the United states, on the other hand, is working in a meat packing plant.

Workers in the U.S. meat and poultry industry endure unnecessarily hazardous work conditions, and the companies employing them often use illegal tactics to crush union organizing efforts, Human Rights Watch said in [this report, released Jan. 25th].

In meat and poultry plants across the United States, Human Rights Watch found that many workers face a real danger of losing a limb, or even their lives, in unsafe work conditions. It also found that companies frequently deny workers’ compensation to employees injured on the job, intimidate and fire workers who try to organize, and exploit workers’ immigrant status in order to keep them quiet about abuses.

Articles in The Nation and The Atlantic were written about the dangers of the meat packing industry back in 2002, but little has been done since then. However, this news story just might provoke some changes — assuming that the connection is made between what we eat and how it is made:

A diner bit into a segment of human finger while digging into a bowl of chili at a San Jose Wendy’s restaurant Tuesday night, Santa Clara County health officials said today.

The reason I point the finger (sorry!) at the meat packing industry is that, according to the article, all of the workers at the restaurant were in possession of all 10 of their fingers.’” I assume it was a result of the incredibly high risk of loosing a body part while working in a meat packing plant.

Addendum: I was thinking to myself … didn’t I see this scene in a movie? Sure enough, I did.

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