Tags: poultry | workers | diapers | oxfam

Poultry Workers in Diapers Because Breaks Denied: Oxfam

Image: Poultry Workers in Diapers Because Breaks Denied: Oxfam
 (Youtube@Oxfam America)

By    |   Friday, 13 May 2016 06:11 AM

Oxfam America issued a poultry industry report on Wednesday charging that many U.S. workers wear diapers and are regularly denied breaks, reported Bloomberg.

Oxfam America, part of a global United Kingdom-based social justice nonprofit, said it received the claims from employees at Tyson Foods, Pilgrim's Pride, Perdue Farms and Sanderson Farms, who weren't named.

The workers charged they were mocked by supervisors, had their restroom requests dismissed and then threatened with punishment or dismissal, said Bloomberg. Oxfam American reported that employees told them that when they did get restroom breaks, they had to wait in long lines, despite the breaks lasting as little as 10 minutes.

"Workers struggle to cope with this denial of a basic human need," the Oxfam report stated. "They urinate and defecate while standing on the line; they wear diapers to work; they restrict intake of liquids and fluids to dangerous degrees; they endure pain and discomfort while they worry about their health and job security. And it's not just their dignity that suffers: they are in danger of serious health problems."

The report charged that the poultry industry is enjoying record profit and production, yet workers are suffering from low wages, increased chances of injury and little power in the workplace to speak up.

"The denial of bathroom breaks strikes women particularly hard," the report continued. "They face biological realities such as menstruation, pregnancy, and higher vulnerability to infections; and they struggle to maintain their dignity and privacy when requesting adequate time to use the restroom."

Tyson Foods senior public relations director Gary Mickelson told the Washington Post he didn't know if  the charges were accurate but the company would follow up on the claims.

"We're concerned about these anonymous claims and while we currently have no evidence they're true, are checking to make sure our position on restroom breaks is being followed and our team members' needs are being met," Mickelson told the Post.

Perdue representative Julie DeYoung told the newspaper that women have the option of visiting their onsite wellness center if they have specific health concerns.

Debbie Berkowitz, a senior fellow at National Employment Law Project who visited poultry plants while working at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, told Quartz.com that she saw some of the dangers listed in the Oxfam America report.

"When next you consume chicken — at home, in a restaurant, in a school cafeteria — consider the hands that brought it to your plate," Berkowitz wrote for Quartz.com. "And wonder if they enjoyed one of the most basic rights to dignity and humanity: the opportunity to use the restroom when needed."

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Oxfam America issued a poultry industry report on Wednesday charging that many U.S. workers wear diapers and are regularly denied breaks.
poultry, workers, diapers, oxfam
Friday, 13 May 2016 06:11 AM
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