I have sued meat packer/processors around the USA and thought I would share with you some of my more memorable experiences.
I. Garbage Bags and Pigs.
When I sued the world’s largest hog slaughter and pork processing facility, Smithfield’s Tarheel, North Carolina facility for failing to pay its workers for time spent pre paid time and post paid time for time spent donning and doffing (putting on and taking off) critical gear to protect them from injury and infections. Smithfield game up with a diabolical solution to their problem.
The scheme was to avoid having to pay workers pre shift for taking out of lockers gear and putting it on in locker rooms prior to the start of production activities. Thus to cut back on time spent in locker rooms, Smithfield came up with the idea that workers would wear garbage bags on the production floor. Garbage bags were placed on rollers through out the slaughter side of the plant. On the slaughter side of the plant in the Summer months temperatures hovered at over 100 degrees with stifling humidity and a god awful stench.
In order to avoid having to pay workers for putting on protective gear to protect them from pork blood, guts and excrement, Smithfield would have workers put on garbage bags, with a whole cut for their heads and arms and legs. So workers in conditions that hovered at over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.Thus, to save a few cents per day per worker, Smithfield had their workers wear non breathable plastic, thus placing their workers at risk of heat stroke and death.
II. The Desk Toilet.
Over the years production workers in many industries have complained to me about Supervisors refusing them permission to use the rest room while on the processing line. This practice is especially common in meat processing and in the pre packaged salad industry at places such as Fresh Express and Taylor Farms.
Some workers have told me sad stories of either being subject to abuse for having urinated their pants during work. One told me a story of having been fired as a result of defecating his plant on the production line and there production line having to be shut down for sanitation purposes.
But sometimes workers had the last laugh. In a case against Pilgrims Pride Turkeys, in Oxford, Pa, a Puerto Rican worker (an American citizen) told me the story of the slaughter line manager refusing him permission to use the rest room. Not about to live with the humiliation of shitting his pants in front of his co workers, he walked off the line and into the manager’s office, climbed up on the managers desk, squatted and dropped a bomb. He finished, pulled up his pants, never returned and had no regrets.
III. Your Story
If you’ve been a subject of abuse at work, or know of stories of abuse, we’d like to hear about them. Feel free to e-mail me at [email protected], and I’ll do my best to see that your story gets the publicity and attention it deserves. Stay tuned for more.