On another front close to the meat industry is the government's development of workplace standards. The government is attempting to develop standards, but critics fear the current administration will not regulate with much enthusiasm.
Earlier this year, a new proposal was introduced to deal with musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. The Bush administration is now condoning voluntary, industry-specific ergonomic guidelines to be developed in conjunction with businesses. Both the poultry and grocery industries have already pledged their support and help with guideline development.
This has not gone over well with organized labor. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, or U-F-C-W, called the proposal a step backward and a proposal to help business instead of protecting workers from hazards. UFCW claims the majority of workplace injuries are caused by an ergonomic issue of some sort and most of the injuries could be prevented. Labor groups also point to a report by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine which estimates ergonomic related injuries at 45 to 54 billion dollars annually.