Photo: AP

Every single action that the Trump administration has taken with regard to workers’ rights has been uniformly bad. With one exception.

In a shocking political development that did not involve the worst possible course of action being given preference, the USDA has chosen to reject an attempt by the poultry industry to relax regulations on the speed of lines in poultry factories. The current maximum speed allowed: 140 birds per minute. The speed that the poultry industry wanted to be allowed to implement: Whatever speed they wanted.


To be clear, working in a poultry factory “processing” one hundred and forty fucking chickens per minute— more than two per second—is already the sort of job that qualifies for “If you think your job sucks, at least you don’t have THIS job!” lists. Not only would increasing that speed make workers’ lives suck even more profoundly, it would also certainly lead to more chopped-off fingers and whatnot. The poultry industry bemoaned this invasive regulation as one that hobbles their ability to compete with “countries that allow higher line speeds,” in the same way that our nation’s shameful minimum wage laws hobble business’s ability to compete with countries that allow slavery.

Anyhow the fact that the Trump administration seemingly did not do the worst possible thing here (the USDA did say it will consider increasing line speeds on a case-by-case basis, so they did not do the best thing, either) freaks me out. What’s up.

Senior Writer.

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