Saturday, June 24, 2006

Anna Burger

Anna Burger told us about a man she knows who worked in meat processing plant. Smithfield Foods. The man stood all day in a room where the temperature routinely broke 100 degrees and caught the carcasses of hogs coming down the line from where they'd been slaughtered. The carcasses weighed up to 400 pounds. He caught them on his shoulder and handed them to someone else who hung them up on a hook so that someone else could start slicing them up into hams and roasts and chops.

All day he did this. "The line never stops," he told Burger. The work broke many strong men. They couldn't take it after a while and walked right off the job. Burger's friend said there were plenty of times when he wanted to walk away too. He never did. He couldn't. He had a family to support.

He made 11,000 dollars a year.

The CEO of the company made 11 million. Before bonuses and incentives and stock options. The CEO made more before lunch on January 1st than Burger's friend made all year.

Company's Smithfield Foods.

The workers had no health benefits. They had a half hour for lunch but because it took ten minutes to walk off the floor to the lunch room and ten mintues to get back so they had to wolf down their sandwiches. No chance to relax, no chance to think, no chance to be human beings for even a little while.

They were organic parts in a machine.

One day the guy got hurt. He needed time off to recover. The company gave him all the time he needed.

They fired him.

This is life without unions.


People used as meat machines.

This is how the people running America now want it to be.

Europe in the Middle Ages. Russia under the czars. South America under the dictators and military juntas.

There are rich people and there are meat machines.

The rich people are happy with this arrangement.

This is why the Drum Major Institute was honoring Anna Burger.

She's not happy with the arrangement.

She's working hard to change it.


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