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Safety and health in meatpacking.

Safety and health in meatpacking

The Excel Corp., the third largest meat processing company in the Nation, and the United Food and Commercial Workers signed an agreement, covering 8,600 meatpacking employees in 10 of the company's 14 plants, that establishes a comprehensive program to reduce injuries caused by repetitive motion, commonly referred to as cumulative trauma disorders.

The program will use ergonomics to modify working conditions to fit workers. The company reportedly will furnish consultant and medical staff, train employees to become "ergonomic monitors" (to spot problems and work with supervisors to correct them), and provide orientation and training programs for new hires, as well as comprehensive preventive training for all employees. Other aspects of the program include a study of changes that must be made in the tools, equipment, and procedures used in the production process to ease employees' physical stress; and a study of changes needed in the medical treatment of injured employees.

The agreement comes amid charges by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that Excel's parent company, Cargill, Inc., violated safety and health regulations by exposing employees to working conditions that lead to repetitive motion injuries.

Elsewhere in the meatpacking industry, after a 3-month aggressive organizing campaign by Teamsters Local 238, production and maintenance workers at IBP, Inc.'s facility at Columbus Junction, IA, rebuffed the union by a vote of 762 to 213 in a representation election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. The election results for the 1,250 employee unit surprised the union's organizing team--Teamster Local 238 president said, "All indications were that we had a win."

IBP, the Nation's largest meat processing company, has 15 plants throughout the United States. The Teamsters represent IBP employees at four of the company's facilities (Amarillo, TX; Pasco, WA; and Dakota City and Storm Lake, IA).
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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations
Author:Cimini, Michael H.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Mar 1, 1990
Previous Article:Beth Israel hospital - Local 1199.
Next Article:The Contingent Economy: the Growth of the Temporary, Part-time and Subcontracted Workforce.

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