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UFCW President Hansen Statement on Final USDA Poultry Modernization Rule

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C. Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement after the USDA published a final poultry modernization rule. 
“For more than two years, UFCW members have spoken out with a simple and compelling message: safe line speeds mean safe workers.
“With today’s publication of an improved poultry modernization rule, it is clear that the voices of UFCW members were heard loud and clear.
“I want to thank our coalition partners in labor, food safety, and the civil rights community for standing side by side with us throughout this process. I want to recognize the Department of Labor for raising important safety questions.  And I especially want to commend Secretary Vilsack for listening to our concerns and taking the necessary steps to fix this rule.
“Poultry processing remains a dangerous job; a recent study showed 42 percent of workers in this industry have evidence of carpal tunnel. With this rule behind us, I look forward to working with the Department of Labor and the USDA to make our poultry plants safer and ensure more workers can have a voice on the job.”
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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

 

Safety and Health: Hazards in the Retail Workplace

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One of the examples provided in the guide.

The UFCW Occupational Safety and Health Office has released a guide that lists the workplace hazards that may occur in a retail workplace. The hazards listed in the guide are all violations of the standards set forth in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and should be immediately reported to a supervisor and a union steward or union representative.

The guide, which can be accessed on the UFCW Safety and Health website, provides photos of examples of the hazards that violate OSHA standards, in order to help workers and supervisors identify and eliminate workplace hazards.

The BPA Act: Fighting Breast Cancer among Women in Manufacturing

BPA is a toxic chemical that has been linked to increased rates of breast cancer among women in many job sectors, including food packing. (Infographic by the BlueGreen Alliance)

BPA is a toxic chemical that has been linked to increased rates of breast cancer among women in many job sectors, including food packing. (Infographic by the BlueGreen Alliance & UFCW)

Even today, women who work in middle-class jobs across America face pronounced barriers and gender discrimination in the workplace, as exemplified by the recent Demos report on gender inequality in retail wages. However, workplace inequality can manifest in other, more subtle ways – such as the manufacture of products containing Bisphenol-A, or BPA.

BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical, which alters hormone production and behavior, disrupting the body’s normal functions. In a 2012 six-year study, BPA was found to have a pronounced effect on women who work in the automotive plastics and the food packaging industries.

These women are five times more likely to have breast cancer than women who work in other industries.

BPA, which is found in the epoxy lining of the metal food can and released into the air during the food canning process, was banned by the FDA in the manufacture of baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula packaging. Many private companies have taken further steps to remove BPA from products. However, BPA exposure is still a problem for thousands of manufacturing and packaging workers in America.

In order to address this problem, the UFCW has joined allies such as the Communications Workers of America, the United Steelworkers, and the United Automobile Workers in supporting the Ban Poisonous Additives Act, or the BPA Act.

The BPA Act would remove BPA from food packaging, encourage the development of safe alternatives, and ensure a thorough safety review of all currently used substances in food and beverage containers. It is currently in committee in the House, where it needs to be passed by the House and the Senate and approved by the President before it becomes a law.

This brochure, produced by the BlueGreen Alliance and UFCW, contains useful information about the growing problem of breast cancer among working women.