Shame of Pilgrim's Pride.Mount Vernon, Texas Mount Vernon is a town in Franklin County, Texas, United States. The population was 2,286 at the 2000 census.
Don Meredith, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and Monday Night Football broadcaster, is a native of Mount Vernon. Also hailing from Mt.
For years, Dr. Louis Arrondo heard horror stories from his patients about working conditions at the local Pilgrim's Pride Pilgrim's Pride Corp. NYSE: PPC, headquartered in Pittsburg, Texas, is the largest chicken producer in the United States and Puerto Rico and the second-largest chicken producer in Mexico. They employ approximately 56,000 people with sales of $5. plant--the nation's fifth--largest poultry company. Injuries were commonplace, they told him--everything from minor falls to severed sev·er
v. sev·ered, sev·er·ing, sev·ers
1. To set or keep apart; divide or separate.
2. To cut off (a part) from a whole.
3. limbs to deaths. His female patients, who were mostly undocumented workers, told him they were being physically and sexually abused by male supervisors. In order to get proper equipment, they said, they had to let the supervisors touch them. "They call us wetbacks," said Blanca Garcia, who was injured at the plant. Garcia reported being pushed around and sexually abused. "They tell us we should be grateful because we get paid more here in an hour than we do for a full day's work (Naut.) the account or reckoning of a ship's course for twenty-four hours, from noon to noon.
See also: Day in Mexico."
Arrondo, who has treated about 100 injured workers, attempted to alert state officials to the situation at the plant. He tried phoning, faxing, and writing, but received no response.
Then, in 1992, Arrondo wrote a confidential letter to the Texas Workers' Compensation workers' compensation, payment by employers for some part of the cost of injuries, or in some cases of occupational diseases, received by employees in the course of their work. Commission, telling what his patients had been reporting, and noting that the workers were not receiving their compensation for injuries and lost time.
Soon after, Arrondo found he had been blackballed. Injured workers say they were told they could no longer seek treatment from him. Those who did, workers allege, were fired or threatened with deportation. Arrondo also began having trouble obtaining payment from the insurance companies.
The Workers' Compensation Commission, he later discovered, was negotiating deals behind his back. The upshot was to deny Arrondo payment for his services, prohibit workers from seeing him in the future, and deny the workers their temporary income and benefits.
In February, the Catholic Church took a stand and called in the Reverend Les Schmidt, an organizer from Virginia, to help secure justice for injured workers at Pilgrim's Pride. "So many workers have been hurt," Schmidt said, "that one of the TWCC TWCC Texas Workers' Compensation Commission commissioners put it this way--if we have that much smoke, there must be pretty heavy fire."
Schmidt's appearance on the scene helped encourage the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission to launch an investigation into Pilgrim's Pride and its insurance carriers and adjusters.
"The workers' compensation law was never very good," said Dr. Arrondo, "but it really got bad when Bo Pilgrim passed out checks to the Texas legislature The Texas Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Texas. The legislature meets at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. In Texas, the Legislature is considered the most powerful branch of state government because of its aggressive use of the power of the purse to ."
In 1989, Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim is the founder, chairman, and principal owner of Pilgrim's Pride, the largest chicken producer in the United States. Pilgrim founded Pilgrim's Pride when he opened a feed store in 1946 in Pittsburg, Texas, with his older brother, Aubrey. , chief executive officer of Pilgrim's Pride, shocked the state when he walked onto the Senate floor and handed out neatly folded $10,000 checks--with the name of the payee The person who is to receive the stated amount of money on a check, bill, or note.
payee n. the one named on a check or promissory note to receive payment.
PAYEE. The person in whose favor a bill of exchange is made payable. blank--along with his business card and information on workers' compensation to nine legislators--just two days before a crucial vote on workers' compensation.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. TWCC records, Pilgrim's Pride was fined five times prior to the current investigation for a total of $10,000 for violations of workers' compensation laws. No new penalties have been assessed yet, but the current investigation uncovered many violations by both Pilgrim's and its insurance companies.
In May, Arrondo filed a lawsuit against Pilgrim's Pride and its insurance companies and adjusters for interfering with his doctor/patient relationship, alleging that the company retaliated against him for his efforts to improve working conditions at the plant, and that the defendants were trying to bludgeon him financially into compliance. Pilgrim's Pride spokesman Clifford Butler calls Arrondo's lawsuit "spurious," and denies all of the allegations.
Arrondo and Schmidt have formed a committee with injured Pilgrim's Pride workers that meets once a month to talk about organizing the community. "They keep coming in injured, every day," Arrondo says. "They have no one else to turn to. Nobody else tells them their rights."