IWJ responds to reports of serious safety violations at a Tyson Foods chicken processing plant

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In response to news that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Tyson Foods for fifteen serious violations following a gruesome worker injury at a chicken processing plant, Interfaith Worker Justice Executive Director Reverend Doug Mork released the following statement: 

“The terrible injury and numerous safety violations at a Texas chicken processing plant confirm what some Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) affiliated worker centers have been saying for years: cheap chicken comes at a high cost for the workers who process poultry.

“In the never-ending corporate quest to boost profit margins, the biggest poultry producers in the country, including Tyson, have long neglected worker safety and worker rights in the name of faster, more profitable production lines. In a report released earlier this year, IWJ-affiliate Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center expose the brutal working conditions and serious injuries endured by poultry processing workers on a near daily basis. Another IWJ affiliate, the Western North Carolina Workers’ Center is in the midst of a campaign to help poultry processing workers win even the most basic dignity from their managers: the right to take a bathroom break.

“While IWJ is outraged by this latest report of serious violations at a poultry processing plant, we are far from surprised. We applaud OSHA for taking swift and bold action to address these serious violations. IWJ will continue to mobilize faith communities and support worker center-led campaigns to bring justice to the poultry processing injury.

“Four poultry corporations –including Tyson Foods– control 60% of the U.S. market. We urge Tyson Foods and its competitors to commit to a comprehensive evaluation of safety standards and the fair treatment of working people at all poultry processing plants. As the nation’s appetite for chicken grows, the safety, dignity, and respect of the workers who produce this chicken are non-negotiable rights that must be protected at any cost.”

“You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns.” - Deuteronomy 24:14

Contact: Ian Pajer-Rogers, ipajer-rogers[at]iwj[dot]org