Beef and chicken packing plants remain “brutal” workplaces, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of the industry. More than 100 years ago, Sinclair Lewis, in “The Jungle,” wrote of brutal work conditions and treatment of Eastern European immigrants. Today the brutality continues, but the immigrants are from Latin America and, increasingly, Africa. The meat industry recruits them. The pay sucks, the conditions are uncomfortable, and the injuries pile on. Wages are frequently below $15 an hour.
Fifteen years ago, Eric Schlosser wrote “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal,” which was considered a modern “Jungle.” He wrote of fast line speed in the modern packing industry and pointed out how it devastated modern workers. The book was a best-seller and made it to the big screen. It was a noble effort to get changes that protected packing-plant workers. Sadly, the bulk of legal reforms since the book have benefited employers. They attack workers every year in every state legislature. Sadly, the workers who bring us the food we enjoy just keep getting ignored.
It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same for this group of hardworking people.
Wrist pain? It may be a sign of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, also known as CTS, is an uncomfortable and often painful wrist disorder. It is a common injury that can be caused by workplace stress. Here are four things you should know about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
1) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by repeated stress.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a Repetitive Stress Injury (RST). It occurs when the same action is repeated many times. When wrists are strained over and over again by actions like typing, the tendons in the wrist can become enlarged. Then the tendons can compress a nerve that runs through a passage in the wrist called the “carpal tunnel.”
2) Even if your wrists don’t hurt badly, you could still have CTS.
There are a whole range of symptoms associated with CTS, not just pain. Symptoms of CTS can include numbness or tingling pain in the hand, wrist, and forearm, impaired or lost nerve function, reduced muscle control, and reduced grip strength.
3) You can receive workers’ compensation for CTS.
According to Nebraska and Iowa law, workers can receive workers’ compensation from the onset of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This compensation includes 100% of all medical expenses that are reasonable and necessary to treat CTS, including both inpatient and outpatient care and prescriptions.
4) You may be entitled to compensation for permanent damage due to CTS.