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Turkey Processing Workers, Feeding Millions of Families for Thanksgiving, Call for Better Wages and Working Conditions

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Press Contacts:

Roger Kerson, 734.645.0535; [email protected]

Advisory for Thursday, 11-19:
4:15 pm Eastern Pre-Thanksgiving Phone Presser:

Advocates to Announce New Steps
in Campaign for Justice for Poultry Workers

San Diego, CA– As Americans from coast-to-coast prepare for next week’s Thanksgiving meal, workers from turkey processing plants will join advocates on a pre-Thanksgiving telephone press conference to call for better wages and working conditions in our nation’s poultry industry.

“Workers in America’s turkey processing plants bring food to millions of families on Thanksgiving,” said Jessica Martinez, Acting Executive Director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH). “But their own families must deal with the reality of low wages, unsafe working conditions, and workplace intimidation.”

To join the call, please RSVP to [email protected] for call-in information.

Who: Jessica Martinez, Acting Executive Director, National Council for Occupational Safety and Health
Minor Sinclair,
Director of Oxfam America’s US Program
Sarah M. Rich
, Staff Attorney, Immigrant Justice Project, Southern Poverty Law Center
Eleni Limkire, poultry processing plant worker, Arkansas
Omar Hassan, former turkey processing plant worker, St. Cloud Minnesota

 What: Telephone media briefing, with announcement on new steps in campaign for justice for America’s poultry workers

When: Thursday November 19th, 4:15 pm (Eastern time)

Where: To receive call info, please RSVP to [email protected]

Americans will eat an estimated 46 million turkeys at Thanksgiving celebrations this year. The national holiday comes at a time of growing concern about working conditions for tens of thousands of workers in U.S. poultry and meat processing plants.

“Lives on the Line,” a report released in October by Oxfam America, found that poultry workers earn low wages with scant benefits, suffer extremely high rates of injury and illness, and are faced with intimidation in the workplace and threats of job loss if they speak up for better treatment.

Just prior to the release of the Oxfam report, Tyson Foods, a major poultry processor, announced an initiative to raise wages. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced a new regional emphasis to investigate unsafe working conditions in the poultry processing industry.

During Thursday’s call, advocates will announce next steps in the campaign to win justice for America’s poultry workers.

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National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. For more information, please visit Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.