UFCW Seeks to Increase Chicken Costs by Slowing Down Processing Lines

Unions representing poultry workers are demanding the Department of Agriculture reject an industry petition to increase poultry line speeds in plants.

The National Chicken Council recently presented a petition to the UDSA to implement a waiver system that would permit young chicken slaughtering plants to operate without line speed limits imposed. Opponents of the petition say current speeds are already too fast and have a high rate of injury, i.e. carpal tunnel syndrome.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union president sent a letter to the USDA warning that faster line speeds would make the industry “dramatically less safe, both for workers and consumers.” But poultry industry experts say that allowing unlimited speeds would not compromise food safety and would give US plants more birds to process to keep up with foreign competitors.

The USDA “will continue to consider line speeds at establishments that are capable of consistently producing safe, wholesome, and unadulterated product and are meeting pathogen reduction and other performance standards.”

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.

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