Democratic Senators Take the Lead in Advocating for Workers’ Safety in the Workplace

By Yuqi Wang, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, UnidosUS

Every worker deserves to be safe in their workplace and to know that their well-being is a priority for their employers. Unfortunately, that is not always a reality—in 2015, the AFL-CIO found that 4,386 U.S. workers were killed on the job. That year, a staggering 903 Latinos had a workplace-related fatality, the highest number of Latino deaths in 10 years. This means that about 2.5 Latinos die just trying to make a living each day.

A national poll recently released by UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza) found that safe working conditions and protections intended to promote workers’ safety and well-being are lacking for many low-income Latino workers:

  • One in five low-income workers (20 percent) reported that going to work sick or delaying a medical appointment is a problem they have experienced in the workplace.
  • More than one-quarter of low-wage Latino workers (28 percent) received no orientation at their jobs.
  • More than one-third (34 percent) of low-wage earning respondents received no training about workplace rights or safety.
  • When low-income Latino workers try to speak up about their concerns or dissatisfaction with their working conditions, they report experiencing employer retaliation. Nearly one in two workers have said they or someone they know have been treated differently or punished for raising workplace problems.

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This Thanksgiving, Remember that Safe Food Begins with Safe Workplaces

(This was first posted to the National Council for Occupational Health and Safety blog.)

Guest Blog by Catherine Singley, Senior Policy Analyst, NCLR

Poultry workers

This year, President Obama will carry out the tradition of pardoning the White House Thanksgiving turkey. Indeed, for most of us, the Thanksgiving turkey is the centerpiece of this quintessentially American tradition. That’s why Americans consumers should be alarmed to learn that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of meat and poultry products, is pursuing a regulatory change that would put consumers and food workers in harm’s way. Under the auspices of improving food safety, USDA’s proposed rule would actually pull government inspectors off of poultry processing lines and allow companies to speed up their production lines.

USDA’s proposed inspection model would allow production line speed to increase from 32 turkeys to 55 turkeys per minute (a 72 percent increase). In chicken plants, the speed would increase from 140 to 175 birds per minute (a 25 percent increase). That’s about one-third of a second to inspect each bird.  Continue reading