Tuesday, February 01, 2005

'Constant Fear and Risk' for Meatpacking Workers

"Working conditions in the U.S. meat and poultry industry are so hazardous and the tactics that employers use to prevent workers from organizing so threatening that the industry consistently violates basic human rights. That is the conclusion of a Cornell University labor law expert in a report for Human Rights Watch.

'In sum, the United States is failing to meet its obligations under international human rights standards to protect the human rights of meat and poultry industry workers,' writes Lance Compa, who teaches courses in U.S. labor law and international labor rights at Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, in the report.

'Workers in American beef, pork and poultry slaughtering and processing plants, many of whom are immigrants, perform dangerous, physically demanding and exhausting jobs in bloody, greasy surroundings. The workers not only contend with abuses and an unprecedented volume and pace in sawing and cutting carcasses, but they also experience constant fear and risk, not only for their health and safety but for their jobs if they get hurt or attempt to organize,' writes Compa."

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