Sunday, July 30, 2006

I swear these events are unrelated...

But, In These Times has an amazing article deatiling life inside the concrete slaughter slab known as Smithfield Foods. Aaron Sarver interviews Quincy Harvey, a worker who had been stabbed, put on disability, fired, and now is a spokesperson for their effort to organize.

Check this piece out:

Did you ever see anyone get hurt on the job?

Yes, I’ve seen people get hurt. I have been hurt on the job several times. When I was in the back in livestock I got stuck through the hand with a knife while I was shackling the hogs.

One day, we were working and the hog came down the chute, but he turned sideways. The guy over there is suppose to stick the hog in the throat and let them bleed out. When I grabbed the shackle, he was trying to stick him from across the table, and when he stuck the hog, he stuck me through my hand. You can still see the line in my hand right here.

What happened after you were hurt?

It took them about 45 minutes to take me to the hospital. They got one of the guards to take me. But they took a urine sample before they would even take me.

They were trying to see if you were drunk?

Yeah, and I was hurting bad. They took me from Tar Heel to Fayetteville— that’s about 25 to 30 minute ride, and I had already waited 45 minutes. They never called an ambulance. They just told one of the guards, “Take him to the hospital.”

When were you back to work?

I was back to work the next day so it wouldn’t be considered workman’s comp. And they don’t let you stay out of work on that. Even though I was taking pain pills they put me up there and I was counting hogs. Well, really, counting gaps, because they didn’t want gaps in the line.

I'm surprised, because you would expect a pork-processing plant to be a class act.

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