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Nebraska Farmers Union wants more oversight of packing plant worker safety

The president of Nebraska Farmers Union says more needs to be done to ensure the safety of the state’s meatpacking plant workers.

John Hansen says there needs to be better oversight of packing plant safety practices, at the state level, to make sure things such as workplace modifications, safety equipment, process changes, and sick leave benefits are in place as they should be.

“Because it’s not happening from OSHA and it’s not happening from USDA—it’s not happening from anyone,” Hansen says. “There’s no real enforcement of that, and in the absence of oversight and enforcement, the deployment is rather uneven.” 

Hansen says meatpacking workers deserve to be treated fairly and safely. And he says that’s something the state’s livestock industry should support as well.

“Nebraska is the largest red meat producing/processing state in the country and our livestock industry is a massive economic driver in our state. It’s in the interest of our livestock producers, and our economy as a whole, to make sure that those workplaces are safe.”

Omaha-area state senator Tony Vargas is asking the Legislature to suspend the rules to allow him to introduce a bill yet this session that would address packing plant safety.

Link to Nebraska Farmers Union news release

AUDIO: John Hansen

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