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EXPOSÉ on THE JOURNAL: Worker Safety
Poulty Worker
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June 27, 2008

Injury rates reported at America's poultry plants have dropped dramatically in recent years, and so have workplace safety inspections. Are regulators rewarding companies for inaccurate reporting of injuries? BILL MOYERS JOURNAL and EXPOSÉ: AMERICA'S INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS go inside America's poultry industry, which employs almost a quarter million workers nationwide, to show the reality of working conditions and to investigate how official statistics showing a drop in workplace injuries may have been the result of deceptive reporting.

The story originates with THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's ongoing investigation into worker health and safety conditions at poultry plants. The OBSERVER's coverage led to several House Education and Labor Committee hearings in 2008. You can read the OBSERVER's ongoing series, peruse the House hearings and read the response to the series from poultry producer House of Raeford through the links below.

Ask the Reporters

The reporters behind THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's investigation, Franco Ordoñez, Kerry Hall and Ames Alexander, will answer viewer questions on The Moyers Blog. Check out our two previous installments of "Ask the Reporters" on chemicals in plastics and tracking Congressional earmarks.

Franco Ordoñez
Franco Ordoñez is THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's minority affairs reporter. He has written about lawyers taking advantage of undocumented immigrants, companies that abuse the Social Security system, and the political debate between comprehensive immigration reform and greater enforcement. He recently completed a two month stint as a foreign correspondent in Mexico, writing for all of McClatchy newspapers, including the OBSERVER, MIAMI HERALD and SEATTLE TIMES. Prior to the OBSERVER, Franco worked three years at the BOSTON GLOBE covering municipal government and immigration and at NEWSWEEK magazine where he was one of a team of reporters reporting from ground zero immediately following the 9/11 attacks. His work has been recognized by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and the N.C. Press Association.

Kerry Hall
Kerry Hall covers the economy for THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. She earned her master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and her bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California at San Diego. During her career, she has written about changes within the tobacco industry, mortgage fraud and the devastation that poor nursing home care brought upon families in Greensboro, N.C. She has won various awards, including first place in North Carolina for business reporting and the National Press Club Joseph D. Ryle Award for Excellence in Writing on the Problems of Geriatrics. She also was a finalist for the Livingston Awards.

Ames Alexander
Ames Alexander is an investigative reporter for THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Among other things, he has written about dangerous trends in airline maintenance, lives endangered by slow ambulance service, rampant problems in new home construction and flaws in the criminal justice system that have sent innocent people to death row while allowing thousands of violent criminals and impaired drivers to escape punishment. He has won more than 40 journalism awards, and was also one of the reporters who worked on "Taking Back our Neighborhoods," a series on inner-city crime which became a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer prize.

Published on June 27, 2008.

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The McWane corporation's iron foundries left a shocking trail of death, dismemberment and pollution. FRONTLINE, The NEW YORK TIMES and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation investigate workplace safety and the safety of workers in one of America's most dangerous industries. FRONTLINE's site includes an update about worker safety five years later.

photo by Robin HollandNOW: "Food Fight"
NOW travels to Tar Heel, North Carolina to investigate the twelve-year battle to unionize the world's largest pork processing plant. In so doing, NOW's Maria Hinojosa became the first TV journalist ever allowed to film inside the plant, owned by Smithfield Packing, a Fortune 500 company.

References and Reading:
Occupational Health and Safety Administation
Find all the latest on regulation and reporting. Plus, review the history of OSHAcourtesy of the Department of Labor.

ONLINE NEWSHOUR: "Ergonimic Debate," March 7, 2001.
Kwame Holman reports on the U.S. Senate's debate over repetitive stress injury regulations.

Also This Week:

EXPOSÉ on THE JOURNAL: Worker Safety
EXPOSÉ and THE JOURNAL go inside America's poultry industry, which employs almost a quarter million workers nationwide, to show the reality of working conditions and to investigate how official statistics showing a drop in workplace injuries may have been the result of deceptive reporting.

>> Your turn: Ask the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER reporters on the blog.

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A Bill Moyers essay.

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