Sociology 1301 M07
William E. Thompson relates in his article (1983) “Hanging Tongues: A Social Encounter With The Assembly Line” the experience of working on a modern assembly line in a large beef plant. After examinations he explains the special type of assembly line work of the process of cattle and a variety of other products for social consumption and other uses. Although he said that working in the beef plant is “dirty work,” I believe is necessary. Many people working there had similar occupations for example, ditchdiggers, garbage collectors, and other types of assembly line workers. This study by Thompson focuses principally on the daily activities of the workers. Workers are supposed to concrete a work that includes activities in demand of their employer. This work is seemed as repugnant and undesirable. However, just like I do Thompson believe as well it is a necessary job.
In the setting Thompson explains how fast the corporation was growing in the United States. This caused the employed of approximately 1,800 people, 380 of them were located at the “A” shift on “Slaughter” for experiments and observation. The company started to produce different products; the plant started producing pet food and a variety of pharmaceutical supplies. With twelve years of experience this plant was considered a important part of the community. One-third of the workers were Mexican-Americans, two-thirds were white, and two individuals were Native Americans. Thompson explained there were no blacks working on the “A” shift. Black women and men did the hard physical labor of the jobs. Although having black people working was never prohibited, I believe there was some racism, because only blacks were doing the hard job.
The work at the plant was a very exhausting physical job, in an extreme condition. Although some jobs on the plant required more physical work than others, the work went beyond physical exhaustion, Thompson said. Every worker was required to work at a specific speed, in every particular work station. One worker related that “at my work station, in the period of one hour, 187 beef tongues were mechanically pulled from their hooks; dropped into a large tub filled with water; had to be taken from the tub and hung on a large stainless steel rack full of hooks; branded with a “hot brand” indicating they had been inspected by a USDA inspector; and then covered with a small plastic bag.” After this, it was taken to the cooler, and replaced with an empty one, repeating the process once again. Of course this was very exhausting for every worker; I do not see myself performing this job. It was a hard and exhausting job.
The danger in the plant was as big as the work there. Although deaths were not common, there was a big percentage of serious injuries. Less of the half of he workers had jobs which it was necessary the use of a knife honed to razor-sharpness.…