Report highlights fears among workers in the meat processing industry

Repetitive motion injuries, amputations and cuts continue to be common dangers that workers in the meat processing industry face, according to a Government Accountability Office report released this month. The GAO also found workers suffer respiratory illnesses from peracetic acid – an antimicrobial chemical – sprayed on meat in processing facilities. In addition, investigators from GAO identified a lack of bathroom access as a major concern among workers – one that workers were afraid to mention to federal labor inspectors at plants for fear of retribution from their employer. The report reviewed the government’s efforts – specifically the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) – to protect the health and safety of workers in the nation’s animal slaughtering and processing industry, one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S.

Approximately 72 workers were interviewed in Arkansas, Delaware, Nebraska, North Carolina and Virginia. Workers in three of those states said they had suffered negative health effects, such as kidney problems, from delayed or denied bathroom breaks.

How Minnesota’s Hmong American farmers got organized

Like many in Minnesota’s Hmong-American community, Pakou Hang comes from a family of farmers. “Even when we very young, starting from elementary school, we were helping our parents out in the field,” she said. “So it’s been a big part of our lives and we have that background.”

Long-time housing for migrant farmworkers closes

Since 2001, the former hospital on Nightingale Court in Rantoul, Ilinois housed as many as 450 migrant farmworkers and their families to work in the fields in central Illinois.
But this year, its owner - Unique Storage Inc. - did not submit a migrant labor camp application for the site, known as Nightingale, according to the state public health department. Instead, housing for the farmworkers was moved elsewhere.

Migrant farm workers file class action lawsuit against Monsanto

A federal class action lawsuit on behalf of two migrant farm workers was filed in federal court last week accusing Monsanto of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Agricultural Workers Protection Act in its treatment of farmworkers who help produce seed corn.

Lawsuits against seed-corn companies shed light on rising use of labor contractors

A two-year investigation by the Midwest Center of Investigative Reporting found, Monsanto and its counterpart in GMO corn production, DuPont Pioneer, have faced repeated allegations of labor violations over the past decade related to a growing use of farm labor contractors.

Here's a look at some of the complaints.

Monsanto, seed-corn companies continue use of contractors despite allegations of migrant labor abuses

A two-year investigation by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found repeated allegations of labor violations over the past decade against Monsanto, its counterpart in GMO corn production, DuPont Pioneer, other seed companies, and the companies’ contractors.

A review of federal documents, lawsuits and Monsanto records – and interviews with advocates and experts – shows repeated allegations of broken recruiting promises, minimum-wage violations, improperly withheld pay and substandard living conditions in seed-corn production of Monsanto and Pioneer.