Americas Charities | June 30, 2014

Why SPLC is Helping Poultry Workers Stand up for Their Rights

By Kristin Donovan

Poultry processing is among the most grueling jobs I have come across in my two-and-a-half years as an outreach paralegal with the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project.

Workers on the processing line stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a knife in hand, cutting and ripping chicken carcasses that fly by at breakneck speed. For many, it is a dehumanizing experience.

Workers who rest their aching hands suffer the invective of line supervisors charged with pushing workers beyond their physical limits. Expected to perform as machines, these workers are often denied bathroom breaks. It’s not uncommon for poultry workers to soil themselves as they work.

Beatriz Navedo is one of the many poultry workers who helped me understand the human cost of this industry that helps feed a nation. She was recruited from Puerto Rico by a staffing agency to debone chicken carcasses at a Wayne Farms processing plant in Enterprise, Alabama.

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Also Read:

Unsafe at These Speeds: Alabama’s Poultry Industry and its Disposable Workers

Unsafe at These Speeds: Alabama's Poultry Industry and its Disposable Workers

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