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317181

Meatpackers hiring more guest workers

Labor Department records indicate that guest workers are employed at 11 meat plants nationwide.

Nearly twice as many meat-processing plants employ short-term foreign workers than in 2015, “a small but growing trend” in the industry, said an Investigate Midwest report. Seaboard Foods, one of the companies using H-2B guest workers, said it pays the workers the same wage and provides the same benefits that it gives domestic employees, although the comparatively small number of guest workers wear a hard hat with an identifying color.

Labor Department records indicate that guest workers are employed at 11 meat plants nationwide. Companies can turn to foreign workers when they are unable to fill jobs with Americans.

A civil rights attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center said guest workers are a way to replace U.S. labor. Other critics say foreign workers can be exploited because they know they might be fired and deported if they complain about working conditions. In other cases, differences in languages make it difficult to communicate.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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