You might know Eric Schlosser best for Fast Food Nation, and the subsequent movie version, and the subsequent for-teens book called Chew On This. It turns out that his muckraking about the food system created an itch to uncover food worker abuses, an itch he’s been scratching for the past few years. After exposing the horrific conditions of immigrant workers in the beef slaughterhouses that supply our nation’s fast food restaurants, he next turned his pen on the abused hog slaughterhouse workers at the Smithfield plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina.
For his incisive and hard-hitting 2006 piece called “Hog Hell,” in The Nation, click here.
For ways that you can help take action against Smithfield’s treatment of workers, and in particular their treatment of workers who try to unionize, click here.
Next up for Schlosser? The plight of egregiously underpaid tomato pickers in Southern Florida, whose tomatoes end up on the burgers at all of the major fast food chains. In 2005, the Coalition of Immokalee workers (Immokalee is a small town in Florida) succeeded in getting Taco Bell to agree to a one cent per pound increase. Sounds like a pittance, and to Taco Bell it is; to the workers, it’s a colossal difference. When Erika Lesser, our Executive Director, met members of the Immokalee Coalition at the Kellogg Conference last Spring, the news was good–they had their sights set next on the other big chains.
In his recent NY Times opinion piece, however, Schlosser documents the glitch in their plan–the Florida Growers Exchange’s threat to growers who pay this extra penny per pound. Schlosser pulls no punches in his disgust for the greed of Burger King and one of its top shareholders–Goldman Sachs. To read all about it, click here.