CommunityPam's House Blend

Eight meat plant workers claim $365 million jackpot


LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) — Eight workers at a Nebraska meat processing plant claimed the record $365 million Powerball jackpot Wednesday, each getting about $15.5 million after taxes.

The seven men and one woman, introduced by Gov. Dave Heineman, all work at a ConAgra ham processing plant near the U Stop convenience store where they bought the winning ticket for Saturday’s lottery.

At least three of the winners Wednesday are immigrants.

Quang Dao, 56, who like Dung Tran, 34, came to the U.S. from Vietnam about 16 years ago, said he was looking for freedom when he headed for America.

“After I hit the lottery, it also changed my family’s life in Vietnam,” he said.

Alain Maboussou, a 26-year-old who fled his war-torn homeland in Central Africa, said he planned to earn a degree in accounting now.

“It’s too early for me to retire, but I did four days ago. I’m going to be working for myself now,” Maboussou said. He said of his three-month-old daughter, Katherine, “she’s going to be happy for the rest of her life.”

“I don’t think they have a reason to be jealous,” Maboussou said of the rest of his colleagues, “because when it’s a pool day, we ask people to put in five bucks. So if you wasn’t there, or you didn’t put five bucks in, sorry.”

You know, good for them, and I’m especially happy that hard-working blue-collar folks and immigrants get to be millionaires. But I’m left wondering, .how’s life going to be back at the plant for the rest of the workers? All of a sudden you have eight people quit. That makes the remaining workers’ jobs a little bit harder, doesn’t it?

And woe to the co-worker who accidentally left his wallet at home the day the pool came a-callin’, or those who’ve played before but sat out this time for whatever reason. Can you imagine the morale at the plant this week?

Has anyone ever taken a look at the aftermath of a co-worker’s group lottery pool striking it rich? Do they have seminars for management on how to deal with this kind of situation? And think about the environment this sets up at other workplaces where there is a lottery pool — certainly stories like this exert more pressure on the non-playing emplyees to join in… you don’t want to be the only one left here working, do you?

It’s not like I’m advocating anti-lottery-pool workplace regulations or anything like that; they’d be impossible to enforce, I’d think. Just musing about how work life will be for the non-winners stuck at the plant.

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