Fast Food Nation

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Maltreatment of Slaughterhouse Workers

In the book Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser talks about the working conditions of fast food meat slaughterhouses. In the chapter "The Most Dangerous Job," one of the workers, who despised his job, gave Schlosser an opportunity to walk through a slaughterhouse. As the author was progressed backwards through the slaughterhouse, he noticed how all the workers were sitting very close to each other with steel protective vests and knives. The workers were mainly young Latina women, who worked swiftly, accurately, while trying not to fall behind. Eric Schlosser explains how working in the slaughterhouses is the most dangerous profession – these poor working conditions and horrible treatment of employees in the plants are beyond comprehension to what we see in modern everyday jobs, a lifestyle most of us take for granted. Schlosser talks about how meatpacking is the most dangerous job in the United States. He says "The injury rate in a slaughterhouse is about three times higher than the rate of a typical American Factory" (172). Every year more than forty thousand meat packing workers get injured (beyond first aid) in the US alone. That is a lot of people getting hurt for just doing their jobs. Some of the injuries that get reported are fatal, but "thousands of additional injuries and illnesses most likely go unrecorded" (172). The workers who apply for such jobs tend to be illegal immigrants who try to earn some money to send back home to their families. Because these immigrants do not "exist", there would be no problem if one might get into an accident and die. In the section titled "The Worst" in chapter 8, Schlosser writes, "Some of the most dangerous jobs in meatpacking slaughterhouses are performed by late night cleaning crews" (176). Most of these workers earn only one third the wages of regular production employees. The working conditions are horrid. The cleaners use a cleaning agent that is a mixture of water and...
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