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Report: Poultry Workers Forced to Wear Diapers

Employees say supervisors’ prohibiting of bathroom breaks to keep a factory pace force workers into humiliating situations.

A new Oxfam America report has unveiled some of the squalid conditions human beings face while working at factory farms. The denial of bathroom breaks is at the center of the report, detailing how several poultry industry laborers—many of whom work for less than $10 an hour—are reduced to coming to work in adult diapers due to the implementation of strict rules that leave employees with virtually no bathroom breaks for a day-long shift. Prioritizing efficiency and speed over the wellbeing of human workers, employees said that some of the companies they work for will allow breaks once a replacement is found (a process that can take up to an hour) and have five or seven minute time limits imposed—a challenge given the considerable amount of gear needed to be stripped out of and the maze-like layout of many plants. Some workers reported that they were told not to drink so much water. "It's not just [workers'] dignity that suffers: they are in danger of serious health problems," the report notes—urinary tract infections, if left untreated, can lead to kidney infections and even death. Tyson Foods, one corporation named in the report, has claimed they’ve found no evidence to substantiate the anonymous anecdotes with the report and that it was “checking to make sure our position on restroom breaks is being followed and our Team Members’ needs are being met.”

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