Sarah Whitaker Mrs. Kurtz A. P. Language and Composition 6 February 2013 The Meatpacking Industry: One of the Most Dangerous Jobs in the U. S. A report from the American Meat Institute shows that the U. S. is home to about 6,000 meatpacking plants. Millions of jobs all over the country are made through meatpacking plants. These low paying, risky jobs are swept up by men and women, these people unknowing of what exactly they have gotten themselves into. The meatpacking, today, has become one of the most dangerous jobs in America.
As found by Steven Greenhouse of the New York times, “…the nation’s meat packing industry has such bad working conditions that it violates basic human and worker rights. ” Ever since the publication of the famous book by Upton Sainclair–The Jungle— people all over the world have found it necessary for inspections to be considered and for changes to be done with little success. Workers in today’s plants seem to have the same problems that were faced almost 100 years ago.
The Appleseed Center For Law found an estimated “total of 62 percent of those interviewed said they had been injured on the job in the past year, a rate seven times higher than the government’s official statistic for slaughterhouse workers…. ”, as found in Reprt:Line Speed, Injuries Increase for Slaughterhouse Workers. So what happened to the much needed safety laws? It’s simple really, they just aren’t being followed. Many workers today, who live in horrible working conditions day by day to make their living for them and their families, are not being treated as they are meant to be and this has only made the industry bigger.
One person quits or gets hurt and another is there, easily filling the new open position. Complaints don’t help either, as found by Gail Eisnitz, also cited in Reprt:Line Speed, Injuries Increase for Slaughterhouse Workers, “Slaughterhouse workers talk of a production system that moves to fast…despite numerous complaints to management—as well as countless injuries—the companies refuse to make changes because slowing the process would mean not making as much money. ” As found in Eric Schlosser’s ook Fast Food Nation the underlying fact is that with power and money there comes damaged morals. The big business owners just don’t care! Now that the secrets are out and the industry is “naked” to the public now, the people are not calling the industry “The Jungle of the 2000s”, an article put out by the Associated Press States. Martin Cotez as interviewed by the Associated Press says, “You know what I like to say to the newcomers? They don’t kill cows. They kill people. ” This, a response to his own story description, just puts a whole new label on the industry; murderers!
Sinclair’s book published so long ago still seems to have barely effected the industry of today. As discussed in Fast Food Nation, Schlosser also speaks of the injury of workers throughout chapter 8, effectively titled “The Most Dangerous Job. ” One example of the horrible working conditions also comes from Fast Food Nation, Jesus “A soft spoken employee of DCS Sanitation Managerment, Inc” Talks of an experience he had on one of his cleaning duties, “One night while Jesus was cleaning, a coworker forgot to turn off a machine, lost two fingers, and went into shock.
An ambulance came and took him away, as everyone else continued to clean. He was back at work the following week. ‘if one hand is no good,’ the supervisor told him,’use the other. ’” Not only did the supervisor not care, a person was injured and still returned to the job he obviously needed. So what needs to be done? Obviously whatever it is, its not happening. So even though the demand for food is high in this nation, what’s more important, our food or our citizens? increased demand at slaughterhouses has caused a rise in work related injuries” according to a report by a Nebraska-based non-profit. People in these plants are getting hurt not only because it’s what the job demands but because the more we as consumers want, the more the big industry owners will demand more work. So what will we as American citizens do? Work Cited “American Meat Institute. ” American Meat Institute. Web. 8 Mar. 2013. “Report: Line Speeds, Injuries Increase for Slaughterhouse Workers. ” Digging Through the Dirt, 8 Oct. 2009. Web. 7 Feb. 2013. Greenhouse, Steven. ” Meat Packing Industry Criticized on Human Rights Grounds. ” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 25 Jan. 2005. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. “Dangers, tensions lurk in meatpacking industry”. Associated Press. Breaking News & Top Stories World News, US & Local: NBC News, 24 Apr. 2006. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. “Safety and Health Guide for the Meatpacking Industry. ” Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. Schlosser,Eric. Fast Food Nation. New York: Harper And Perennial,2005. Print.