Nov. 2, 2012
New Report Details Abusive Working Conditions in Meatpacking and Poultry Plants
A new report authored by the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights and the University of Minnesota Human Rights Program details dangerous conditions persist for food and worker safety in meat and poultry processing plants. The report summarizes in-depth interviews with meat and poultry workers in 6 focus groups in 5 sites across 2 states, Iowa and Minnesota.
“Always Working Beyond the Capacity of Our Bodies: Meat and Poultry Processing Work Conditions and Human Rights in the Midwest” is a report based on in-depth focus group interviews with workers in rural Minnesota and Iowa communities. It documents a number of significant concerns about safety and other work conditions in meatpacking and poultry plants. Most notably, workers linked serious injuries to the rapid speed of the production line. Workers also described being exposed on a regular basis to dangerous chemicals on the factory floor. Finally workers reported facing discrimination and abuse from supervisors. The report also describes the unique abuses faced by immigrant workers.Read More >
Sep. 26, 2012
Coalition of Rights Groups Urges USDA to Withdraw Poultry Slaughter Proposal
A coalition of 25 groups and 17 individuals, including NELP, has 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 government inspectors for certain inspection activities. In addition, the proposal reduces the numbers of federal inspectors working at poultry plants. While the poultry inspection program does need improving, the proposal was developed with limited public input. USDA did not consult with its inspection advisory committee prior to issuing its proposal; nor were public meetings held to solicit the views of the public before the proposal was announced. In addition, the groups highlighted a number of critical food safety and worker safety concerns raised by the proposal.Read More >
Apr. 11, 2012
USDA Proposes New Regulations Endangering Poultry Workers; Requests for Public Comment
The USDA has proposed new regulations on poultry inspection that may endanger workers in poultry plants—the vast majority of whom are immigrant and low-wage workers. The regulation creates a new inspection system that requires workers to process up to 175 birds per minute—an increase of about 50 to 100 percent, which puts worker safety at risk.
Low wage worker advocates are requesting that community members submit comments to the USDA requesting an extension of the comment period, and withdrawal of the rule until comprehensive studies can be conducted by NIOSH to determine the effect on poultry plant line workers’ health and safety.Read More >
Mar. 20, 2012
Congressional Testimony: Home Care Industry Needs Minimum Wage Protections
Washington, DC – A nearly forty-year-old rule that exempts the nation’s 2.5 million home care workers from federal minimum wage laws could be revised under a Department of Labor proposal that would grant this burgeoning workforce the same wage protections other workers have relied on for decades.
In testimony today before a panel at the House Committee on Education & the Workforce, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) explained that the DOL updates would help alleviate the critical challenges facing the home care industry, which include increased demand for affordable care, a rise in worker turnover, poverty-level wages and deteriorating conditions for care providers and recipients.Read More >
Mar. 12, 2012
USDOL again extends comment period for home care regulations to March 21, 2012
On February 24, 2012, the Department published a notice to extend the comment period to March 12, 2012, because of requests received to extend the period for filing public comments and the Department's desire to obtain as much information about its proposals as possible. The Department will again extend the comment period until March 21, 2012. Comments received between December 27, 2011, the date of publication of the NPRM, and March 21, 2012 will be included in the rulemaking record.
More information is available at the DOL's comment website.Read More >