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Michael Arria – Some of the Cruelest Employers in America: Workers Share Horror Stories as Campaign Builds to Fight Exploitation

“My supervisor let me know that if my hands hurt and I go see the nurse, I should tell her that the pain comes from something that happened at home. I shouldn’t say it’s work-related. If I say my pain comes from something I did at work, then I will be laid off without pay and three days later get fired. So, when I go to the nurse I tell her that I hurt my hands at home.”

That’s testimony from Diane, a 38-year-old African-American woman using a pseudonym. She was interviewed for a new report, put out by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which details the daily realities of poultry workers in Alabama. Against the advice of her supervisor, Diane secretly saw a doctor and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. “Diane’s story is not unique,” notes the report, “Company policies requiring workers to see plant nurses first, even threatening discipline if workers initially seek outside treatment, are prevalent throughout the industry.”

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