I love North Carolina. I’m not a native, but I’ve been here for a while now. The midwesterner in me still thrills at the possibility of a day trip to the mountains or the beach. I regularly try to convince my friends to move here. It’s a great place, I tell them … except for the state legislature.
Last week, the legislature outdid itself in embarrassing the state in front of the rest of the country, a feat it has perfected in recent years.
Conditions inside poultry processing plants are grim and dangerous, according to a study released by Oxfam America. Workers are denied bathroom breaks, forcing some to wear diapers as they keep up with processing about 45 birds per minute. The workplace conditions are especially challenging for menstruating and pregnant women. The environment is frigid to keep the chickens cool. Floors splattered with water, blood, and fat are slippery. Many of the workers interviewed complained about sexual and racial discrimination. Conditions in unionized plants are better, but only about one-third are unionized. Four industry giants—Tyson, Perdue, Pilgrim’s, and Sanderson Farms—control 60 percent of the market, employing 100,000 people (Washington Post, May 11).