Embarrassing for America: Poultry workers pee, defecate in diapers

Embarrassing for America: Poultry workers pee, defecate in diapers

Sunday, May 22, 2016 8:32 am

US poultry workers

US poultry workers

U.S. poultry workers are handling chickens while wearing soiled diapers because limited bathroom break times force them to pee and defecate where they stand, the Daily Mail said in a recent report.

Some workers have developed urinary tract infection as a result, while others dehydrated themselves so they wouldn’t need to pee, the Daily Mail said, quoting a report by the humanitarian group Oxfam America.

“People would be shocked to know that their chicken is organic and antibiotic-free, but that the workers who handle the chicken were compelled to soil themselves or wear diapers in order to keep their job,” said Debbie, Berkowitz, an expert quoted in the report.

Oxfam America paired up with worker centers to interview dozens of former and current poultry workers from all over the country for the report.

One worker, identified only as “Robert,” told Oxfam that he’d seen people peeing while working on the line, or wetting themselves when they couldn’t get to the bathroom in time.

He once saw a man urinate and defecate on himself at the same time. “I don’t know any more about it than the shame of that man who went to the bathroom like that,” he said, “He told his supervisor and they sent him home,” he added.

A survey of 266 workers in Alabama said that 80 percent could not go to the bathroom when needed, the report said. That figure was as high as 86 percent in Minnesota.

According to the report, reasons for the unhygienic conditions are largely down to supervisors who are trying to keep the production line moving as fast as possible.

That leads to them refusing bathroom requests by workers, or punishing them for asking for breaks too often, leading to people trying to hold on longer than possible.

And even if workers do get breaks, the report said, they are not given enough time for them to remove their safety equipment and put it back on again.

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