In an odd irony, chickens' conditions have improved lately because people have put pressure on the four biggest chicken companies.
But the workers' conditions haven't.
I won't go over everything that's wrong with the working conditions of poultry workers because Oxfam America does an amazing job of it.
But a few awful highlights:
- Workers often wear diapers to work because they don't get breaks. Diapers.
- The U.S. Government Accountability Office says the poultry industry still has one of the highest rates of injury and illness of any industry.
- The line goes fast enough that a whopping 78 percent of 302 people surveyed said they felt unsafe at their job because of the line speed.
- Poultry workers earn 2 cents for every dollar spent on chicken nuggets.
I like chicken, but not that much.
Oxfam is asking people to put pressure on the four biggest poultry companies in the U.S. to provide justice for their workers. You can recommend fair compensation, a safe and healthy workplace, and worker voice and empowerment with the click of a button.
What does this have to do with the Bible?
Here's Amos 2:6-7, from the Common English Bible:
The Lord proclaims:
For three crimes of Israel,
and for four, I won’t hold back the punishment,
because they have sold the innocent for silver,
and those in need for a pair of sandals.
7 They crush the head of the poor into the dust of the earth,
and push the afflicted out of the way.
Substitute "a quick buck" for "silver, and "a box of chicken nuggets" for "sandals" and you get the picture.
Not to mention Jesus' simple command: "Do to others what you would want them to do to you."
Nobody deserves to work excruciatingly hard for little money, only to be injured and replaced.