Last week, in response to UFCW members around the country submitting their opposition to a Big Poultry-driven inspection process being considered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Secretary Tom Vilsack agreed to extend the comment period on this proposed rule by 30 days. The rule, which would increase the speed that birds are processed from 70-91 a minute to a maximum of 175 a minute, could put workers at poultry plants in increased danger.
The UFCW has called on USDA to halt this rule until the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts comprehensive studies on the impact it would have on the health and safety of workers in poultry plants. It will use this 30-day extension to work directly with NIOSH to determine a course of action to study the probable effects of increased line speeds on worker health and safety. This extension is a victory for all poultry workers who can rest assured that their safety on the job is being taken seriously. Members can continue to submit their comments online by visiting www.regulations.gov and referencing Docket No. FSIS-2011-0012 “Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection.”