Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ohio senator picks up on investigative report about Case Farms, asks company to explain itself

A Case Farms plant in Goldsboro, N.C., was pictured in National Provisioner
magazine after readers of the trade publication voted it "Plant of the Year" in 2014.
Ohio's Democratic senator is asking a major chicken processor in the state to say more about how it protects workers safety and collective-bargaining rights, following investigative reporting that he says "uncovered numerous, grave examples of unsafe working conditions at Case Farms facilities and detailed descriptions of the company's refusal to address the dangers."

So said Sen. Sherrod Brown in an Aug. 9 letter to Case CEO Thomas Shelton, which continued: "When workers have tried to organize to advocate more effectively for a safer workplace, the company has retaliated against the organizers and blocked the formation of a union." Case said its reply would go directly to Brown.

In response to a May story by ProPublica and The New Yorker, Case said "worker safety is an integral component" of its culture, but Brown said in his letter that statement "does not appear to square with this recent report and the company's history of serious OSHA violations" at its plants and North Carolina, where it is based.

The story said Case, "which supplies Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Boar’s Head, has for decades relied on immigrant workers to staff its plants, which are some of the most dangerous workplaces in America," and "used their immigration status to get rid of vocal leaders, quash dissent and avoid paying for injuries. The story detailed how current immigration law makes it difficult for authorities to go after employers for hiring unauthorized immigrants, but easy for employers to retaliate against those workers," ProPublica reports.

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