Unformatted text preview: ion companies.
They earn hourly wages that are about one-third lower than those of regular production employees. And their work is so hard and so horrendous that words seem inadequate to describe it. The men and women who now clean the nation’s slaughterhouses may arguably have
the worst job in the United States. “It takes a really dedicated person,” a former member of a cleaning crew told me, “or a really desperate
person to get the job done.”
When a sanitation crew arrives at a meatpacking plant, usually around midnight, it faces a mess of monumental proportions. Three to four
thousand cattle, each weighing about a thousand pounds, have been slaughtered there that day. The place has to be clean by sunrise. Some of
the workers wear water-resistant clothing; most don’t. Their principal cleaning tool is a high-pressure hose that shoots a mixture of water and
chlorine heated to about 180 degrees. As the water is sprayed, the plant fills with a thick, heavy fog. Visibility drops to as little as five feet.
The conveyer belts and machinery are running. Workers stand on the...
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- Spring '08