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Arkansas poultry workers make, on average, approximately $13.84 per hour ($28,792 per year). Even in a household with 2 adults making this wage ($57,584 total), this is well below living wage for a family of 4 ($71,000 is considered a living wage in nonmetro South).
When I was pregnant, I had to constantly go to the bathroom, and a supervisor told me, ‘Why don’t women hold it like I (male supervisor) have to hold it all day?’ I felt there was a factor of discrimination taking place at my workplace. Another factor is the fact that as women, we have our menstrual cycle, so we need to go to the bathroom more frequently, and male supervisor do not comprehend that, they don’t recognize that as women we take a little longer to assess our needs and feel clean. Instead of letting us use the bathroom, they threaten us, humiliate us to the occasion of filing claims with human resources to discharge us.
Of the 500 surveys, 13% of the surveyed poultry workers were Caucasian, 20% were African American, 46% Latino, 21% Asian Pacific; 50% women and 50% men. These surveys were done statewide which include workers from Ft. Smith, Russellville, De Queen, Clarksville, Pine Bluff, Jonesboro, Van Buren, Berryville, Danville, Decatur, amongst many others. Amongst the data statistics, the Center targeted poultry workers from the following poultry industries: Tyson, Cargill, George’s, Ozark Mountain Poultry, Butterball, Simmons, Pilgrim’s Pride, Southeast Poultry, Wayne’s Farm, as well as small poultry farms and hatcheries.
The company denied requests. However, they did provide a video with interviews from employees. The featured employees claimed the working conditions at Tyson were proper, and fair.
Tyson sent the following statement to 5NEWS:
"We wouldn’t be a successful company without our Team Members. We care about them and we’re continually working to make sure they’re treated fairly. We believe in fair compensation, a safe and healthy work environment and providing our Team Members with a voice in the workplace. Our company has met several times with the human rights group Oxfam America and has also reached out to the NWA Workers’ Justice Center to talk about what we do to help our poultry Team Members succeed."
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