Undercover in a Chicken Factory

For immigrant workers in an Arkansas poultry plant, even a bad job is a labor of love -- until the bosses crank up the power

Just as Americans move abroad seeking a new life, the United States attracts expatriates from other countries. Many of these new immigrants have wound up working in meat plants throughout the American heartland. In the spirit of famous muckraker Upton Sinclair, who in 1904 worked undercover alongside immigrants in a Chicago meatpacking plant before writing his classic novel The Jungle, University of Arkansas anthropologist Steve Striffler got a job at a modern poultry processing plant to see what it's like. -- The Editors

Springdale, Arkansas, is an unremarkable working-class city at the center of the most productive poultry-producing region in the world. It is also home to the corporate headquarters of Tyson Foods. The company's Northwest Arkansas Job Center is a small building that resembles a government office. A sign in Spanish near the receptionist's desk says, "Do not leave children unattended." Another warns, "Thank you for your interest in our company, Tyson Foods, but please bring your own interpreter."

2/19/2018 8:46:07 AM

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