Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)
- 05-17-2012, 01:15 PM #1
AL-Law Could Put Poultry Workers at Increased Risk
Law Could Put Poultry Workers at Increased Risk
By Soni Sangha
Published May 17, 2012
Fox News Latino
Photo of poultry workers by Keith Tsubata from Hawaii.
It was his third day at an Alabama poultry plant, when Carlos felt a shooting, violent pain run through his right hand. His appendage feel like it was being ripped in two. Despite the ensuring burn, Carlos kept working, knowing that the only way to save enough money to return home to Puerto Rico was to shut up and keep cutting the dead birds.
A carpenter by trade, Carlos came to Alabama after construction jobs in Puerto Rico dried up. He and his wife saw advertisements in newspapers calling for workers to man poultry plants in the U.S., an industry largely dominated by Latinos.
But poultry work, as Carlos will attest, is more demanding than he thought.
Workers hang, pull, cut and dig thousands of times a day to clean and ready chicken before it hits grocery stores. The result has many workers complaining of debilitating pain, which continues long after the work stops.
These conditions have advocacy groups crying foul over a USDA proposal designed to update poultry monitoring in plants that may also impact the rate at which workers handle meat.
If the proposal passes, factories would take over examining chicken and turkey for defects, freeing USDA inspectors to monitor other aspects of production and saving taxpayers $1 billion over five years while raising quality levels, according to Congressional testimony given by Cass Sunstein in March, who heads the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
In a factory, the line begins when employees hang live birds upside down on moving hooks. A worker named Jorge reported he would hang 64 birds a minute in a study published by the National Council of La Raza.
The chickens are then slaughtered, scalded, plucked and chilled before workers chop up the carcasses and clean out bones.
Currently, USDA inspectors monitor initial screenings of fowl to check for bruising and other signs that would indicate unsuitable meat, a practice that has been in place for 50 years.
However, the USDA is reconsidering its old practice because today chickens are raised differently and are younger, more uniform in size and appearance when they are readied for slaughter. The USDA recommends now that front-end visual checks can be adequately handled by the companies, freeing up inspectors to check for fecal and other contamination that can happen later in the line.
This change was part of an overall movement encouraged by President Barack Obama to cut costs by streamlining an outdated processes.
However, what ruffles the feathers of advocates is another portion of the proposal that would increase the limit on line speeds. Currently, 140 chickens can be sent through every minute but that limit will increase to 170.
ďItís pretty common sense that turning up the speed on a process thatís already dangerous is going to make it that much more dangerous,Ē said Catherine Singley, senior policy analyst at National Council of La Raza.
There are 20 chicken plants that have been operating at the increased speeds. Reports reviewed by the USDA indicate that the change could improve quality.
What has not been surveyed, according to worker advocacy groups including the National Council of La Raza, is whether the speed has impacted workers. The USDA did not respond to requests to comment on whether or not a study of worker health will be completed and considered before the passage of the proposed regulation.
Itís pretty common sense that turning up the speed on a process thatís already dangerous is going to make it that much more dangerous.
- Catherine Singley, senior policy analyst at National Council of La Raza
ďThere was nobody monitoring that, not us, not any of our partner programs, not the federal government,Ē said Singley, who added that advocates are asking for an occupational study to be completed.
The U.S. Department of Labor did not answer requests made by Fox News Latino for comment on allegations that the USDA did not collaborate with them when developing these guidelines. The USDA did not give an on-the-record interview and did not respond to requests to detail the role the Department of Labor played in the regulation.
The National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation both support the plans that they argue will modernize the process and that repositioning the USDA checkpoint to the end of the line is expected to allow for better screening.
"The National Chicken Council will be providing detailed comments to USDA regarding the proposed rule, outlining concerns and seeking clarification in some areas," an NCC statement said.
Poultry workers repeat intense movements thousands of times a day and have the sixth highest occupational illness rate of any private industry in the US, according to a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
Some common complaints among workers is damage to the muscles and nerves in wrists, arms, necks and backs often seen as severe carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis, the piece reports.
The turnover is also high, as is the demand for poultry.
It is an industry worth over $45 billion and employs more than 235,000 people, according to the study.
Documented and undocumented Latinos make up 34 percent of the employees, a higher percentage than in the overall workforce. Women and men are nearly equally employed in poultry plants, with women primarily involved in cutting and trimming carcasses, according to the National Council of La Raza.
The annual wage for poultry cutters, trimmers, slaughterers and packers is about $24,000 a year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Carlos said he thought the job would be a perfect short-term income boost until construction work picked up again. But now, he says, he wish he never took it.
When he got back to Puerto Rico, he tried a job washing cars but his hands swelled so much he couldnít maintain the work. He couldnít continue on construction jobs, his previous work either. And he isnít alone. Every Puerto Rican who arrived alongside him returned with injuries, he recalled.
Carlos keeps trying his hand at various jobs but the pain that runs from his index finger to his neck is too severe to sustain any job and he loses his grip on tools and common household objects making it difficult for him to find work.
ďI have always been a very strong person. I have dominated physical work for 43 years," Carlos said. "And I have never experienced anything like this in my life.Ē
Read more: Law Could Put Poultry Workers at Increased Risk | Fox News LatinoThe price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. Plato
- 05-17-2012, 08:24 PM #2
Another tests positive for tb in Alabama chicken plant
http://decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/ne ... 5/tb.shtml
Another worker has TB?
Wayne Farms to test 600 plant employees
Health Department officials said Wednesday they believe a second Wayne Farms employee has active tuberculosis, a highly contagious disease that is deadly, if untreated.
On receipt of the news, Wayne Farms said it would require all of the employees at its fresh processing chicken plant to undergo TB skin tests, to be administered by the Morgan County Health Department, on Monday. Health workers will complete the two-part skin tests Oct. 31.
200 already tested
The plant has 849 employees. About 200 have already received skin tests or sputum tests and will not be re-tested.
"Company and Health Department officials have decided to test the remaining 600 employees at the facility as a precaution and to allay community concerns," Wayne Farms said in a statement.
Wayne Farms spokesman Frank Singleton said the state health department did not require testing of everyone in the plant, but encouraged it, and agreed to conduct the tests.
The TB scare began when a former employee of Wayne Farms tested positive for active TB about two months after leaving the company. He was hospitalized and, on Oct. 11, the Morgan County Health Department administered TB skin tests at Wayne Farms.
The tests were mandatory for 72 employees who had close contact with the hospitalized former employee, labeled the "index case" by health officials. Another 127 employees at the fresh processing plant voluntarily submitted to the skin tests.
The tests identified 47 employees infected with TB. The most recently diagnosed employee was not one of those who was thought to have had close contact with the index case, according to Scott Jones, interim director of the division of tuberculosis control with the Alabama Department of Public Health.
The county health department performed chest X-rays on all of those employees infected with TB to determine if they had active tuberculosis.
On Oct. 18, state health officials said one of the 47 had a suspicious X-ray result.
The suspect employee immediately began taking anti-TB drugs, Jones said.
This week, a sputum test of the suspect employee indicated the presence of active TB disease, according to Pam Barrett, field services coordinator of the state's tuberculosis control division.
Between 8 and 10 percent of the Alabama population is infected with TB bacteria, Jones said. It is held in check by most people's immune system. Latent tuberculosis is not contagious and causes no symptoms. It can become active at a later date, if the immune system is compromised.
Barrett said Wednesday both the index case and the most recently diagnosed employee were born in Mexico or Central America. She said she did not know the country of their birth.
Immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala have particularly high rates of TB infection, according to state health officials.
Wayne Farms and health officials declined to provide the name of either employee, citing health confidentiality laws.
Singleton said Wayne Farms will require any employees testing positive after Monday's skin tests to have X-rays to see if they have active TB.
The state health department encouraged Wayne Farms to require all employees to submit to tests, Singleton said.
"Required is probably not the right word," Singleton said. "The health department said, 'We are certainly open to and available to help you test as many people as you want to test, including everybody in the plant.' We said we thought that was a good idea."
Barrett said health officials suspect the recently diagnosed employee did not catch the disease from the index case, but from another, unknown source.
In addition to testing Wayne Farms employees, Barrett said the health department is testing others who had close contact with the two individuals. All family members are included.
Barrett said she did not know if either employee has school-age children. Health officials with access to this information were not immediately available Wednesday. Barrett said testing would take place in the schools only if a school-age child tested positive for active TB.
"We do a thorough investigation of every contact ‚ÄĒ household, work, church, leisure, social ‚ÄĒ in every case," Barrett said. "Every individual case results in a unique investigation. We screen every aspect."
A year ago, a Wayne Farms employee suspected of having active tuberculosis triggered the testing of 74 employees at the fresh processing plant. Twenty-six tested positive on skin tests.
On Monday, State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and State Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, met with Wayne Farms officials to discuss the tuberculosis infections.
Orr said one issue they discussed was whether Wayne Farms should begin testing all newly hired employees for TB before allowing them to begin work.
"I expect Wayne Farms to be a good corporate citizen, but when there is concern and fear in the community because of this health issue, doing nothing is unacceptable," Orr said Monday. "They've got to determine the best legal options to address this."
In its active form, tuberculosis is highly contagious. Twenty to 50 percent of those who come into close contact with an individual with active TB become infected. While deadly if untreated, available medications are effective in curing the disease.
TB can occur in many parts of the body. Because it is an airborne bacteria, only TB in the airways ‚ÄĒ usually the lungs ‚ÄĒ is contagious.
another test positive for tb in chicken plant
- 05-17-2012, 08:26 PM #3
AL - Tests show employees were exposed to TB
http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20071 ... 90337/1011
Tests show employees were exposed to TB
Last Updated:November 08. 2007 11:24PM
Published: November 09. 2007 3:30AM
Tuberculosis skin tests conducted Tuesday on 178 employees at the Pilgrim's Pride plant in Russellville have revealed that 51 employees have been exposure to the disease.
The tests were conducted as a precaution by the state health department after it was learned that a former employee may have had TB.
Dr. Karen Landers, area health officer at the Northwest Alabama Regional Health Department, said chest X-rays have been taken of those 51 individuals and would be read to determine if there is the presence of tuberculosis.
"Of all who had a positive test, not one gave a history of symptoms - fever, night sweats, a cough," she said. "A positive skin test doesn't always mean the person has tuberculosis. A few of these could also be false positives."
Landers said she expected final results by early next week.
The former employee who may have had TB has not worked at the plant for more than seven months, officials said.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
From Humble Beginnings to Industry Leader
For six decades, Pilgrim's Pride has produced healthy, high-quality food products that go into some of the world's finest recipes. In fact, we developed a number of those recipes ourselves, so consumers of our products could enjoy and benefit from them to the fullest. Now we have developed a new recipe - one to enhance the quality and health of our company and all its stakeholders.
Pilgrim‚€™s Pride Corporation (NYSE: PPC) is the largest chicken company in the U.S. and the second-largest in Mexico. Since completing the acquisition of Gold Kist in late 2006, Pilgrim‚€™s Pride's consolidated annual net sales are approximately $7.4 billion.
Pilgrim's Pride is currently ranked #432 on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations.
Pilgrim's Pride employs approximately 55,500 people in the U.S. and Mexico.
Major facilities are in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico and Mexico; other facilities are in Arizona, Iowa, Mississippi, Ohio and Utah.
The company currently processes approximately 44 million birds per week for a total of more than 9 billion pounds of poultry per year.
Pilgrim‚€™s Pride products are sold to foodservice, retail and frozen entr√©e customers. The company‚€™s primary distribution is through retailers, foodservice distributors and restaurants throughout the United States and Puerto Rico and in the Northern and Central regions of Mexico.
Pilgrim's Pride owns and operates 37 chicken processing plants (34 in the U.S. and three in Mexico), 12 prepared-foods plants and one turkey processing plant. Thirty-five feed mills and 49 hatcheries support these plants.
Approximately 7,300 growers supply poultry for the company‚€™s operations.
EggsPlus‚„Ę, our healthier alternative to the ordinary egg, has all the great nutrients a normal egg has to offer plus increased levels of Vitamin E, Lutein and Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which have been proven to reduce the risk of heart attack, cardiac sudden death and stroke.
Pilgrim‚€™s Pride produces 44 million dozen table eggs per year and can produce up to 1 million dozen eggs per week during peak holiday seasons.
In Mt. Pleasant, Texas, Pilgrim's Pride operates one of the largest prepared-foods plants in the United States, with the capability of producing 2,000 different products and the capacity to turn out more than 7 million pounds of finished goods per week.
The company‚€™s Live Oak, Florida, facility recently completed an 180,000-square-foot expansion, which includes advanced air-chilling technology to process chickens that are antibiotic-free and raised on an all-vegetable diet. This new premium product line supplies the growing natural foods retail supermarket segment.
The company's further-processing facilities have the combined capacity to process more than 1 billion pounds of product per year.
Pilgrim's Pride owns and operates 20 distribution centers in the U.S. and 18 in Mexico.
The company's distribution center located near Pittsburg, Texas, features a state-of-the-art, fully automated, 40-million-pound capacity freezer featuring RFID and GPS technologies, allowing worldwide inventory tracking.
Plants in Mexico are strategically located to serve 75 percent of all Mexican consumers.
The company exports commodity chicken products to more than 70 countries, including China, Japan, Kazakhstan and Russia.
Pilgrim‚€™s Feed manufactures more than 155,000 tons of high-quality bulk and bagged feed per year for livestock and show animals.
The retail Fridge-to-Freezer Pak‚„Ę, which separates chicken parts into individual vacuum-sealed pockets, was selected as an ‚€œEditor‚€™s Pick‚€
AL - Tests show employees were exposed to TB
- 05-17-2012, 08:30 PM #4
47 infected with TB
http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdail ... 8/tb.shtml
47 infected with TB
Wayne Farms employees test positive; X-rays to determine if germs active, contagious
By Eric Fleischauer
email@example.com ¬∑ 340-2435
Skin tests compiled Tuesday revealed that 47 of the 167 Wayne Farms employees tested for tuberculosis were infected.
Lung X-rays were performed Tuesday to determine whether any of the 47 has active tuberculosis, the only type that is contagious. A physician will read the X-rays on Thursday.
The tests were triggered when a former Wayne Farms employee was diagnosed with active tuberculosis. He was hospitalized and is under treatment. The employee left Wayne Farms about two months ago.
The Morgan County Department of Health injected the forearms of the Wayne Farms employees with testing solution Oct. 10. Health officials returned to the plant Friday to evaluate the injection sites.
Of those tested, 72 had direct contact with the hospitalized employee, health officials determined. The remaining 127 voluntarily requested the free testing.
Of the 72 who had contact with the hospitalized employee, 38 percent (27 employees) were infected with the tuberculosis bacteria, according to Scott Jones, interim director of the division of tuberculosis control with the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Of those who had not had contact with the employee, 22 percent (20 employees) were infected.
‚€œThat may be more a reflection of the rate of infection in their country of origin,‚€
47 infected with TB
These articles are no longer available in the internet. these are posted from the ALIPAC Archives.
Personally, I don't care if the illegals that work at the chicken plants are "at risk" for deportation. They should not be in Alabama in the first place. The chicken plants survived before they showed up and started having kids on welfare and bringing TB.
The chicken plants and the illegals have been putting the citizens of Alabama at risk for years so that big chicken plants can pay slave wages and make more profits.