Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Michael McCain Leaves a Bad Taste in My Mouth

At the moment that I'm typing these words, this blog post is an unfinished snippet that I'm going to use as my obligatory post for the day, as well as to also have as few unpublished starts in my blog archive. By the time it's done, it will be a (barely) finished snippet. I started it at the height of the listeriosis scare.

Enjoy mutha-fukkas!!!

Ever since I read about him a long time ago in Canadian Business Magazine (to which I subscribed in the mid-nineties) did a profile about him during a nasty strike, Michael McCain (of "Maple Leaf Meats" fame) leaves a bad taste in my mouth. According to the magazine, Michael was the son of the younger of the two McCain (of "McCain's" foods) brothers. He got a job as an executive but being a type-A personality apparently acted like he could run the place better than his uncle, who promptly fired him.

So his dad bought him Maple Leaf Foods, and Michael went about slashing wages to pay for his big purchases of slaughtering capacity. The first year following the strike, McCain paid $10 hour (probably equal to $15 hour today) wages to anyone who'd walk in off the street. But that kind of money soon showed itself not worth that kind of work and turnover was a huge problem. In response, wages went back up but still not enough.

Essentially, McCain was trying to replicate the conditions in US meat-packing, which are grimly depicted in this awesome article. In the end, I blame the uncontrolled corporate nature of our food industry for that terrible tragedy.


trog69 said...

Over ten years after that article in The Nation, INS ( Now ICE ) is still performing raids once every two years.

Unionization would not only help these workers, but also slow down the prodigious and unsustainable US appetite for meat. Hell, prices of vegetables are skyrocketing, yet meat prices are only slowly rising, and we are far too used to having out of season fruits and vegs all year round.

thwap said...

It's been ten years since I first read that??

And you're right. It's stayed shitty for all of them. And for us.