The Justice Department is suing poultry processors for illegal labor practices.

The Justice Division also filed a consent decree that, if authorized by a federal court, would prohibit companies from sharing such data and require them to pay $84.8 million to employees harmed by the scheme. Under the executive order, a court-appointed monitor would further ensure compliance for a decade, and the Justice Division would have the power to review treatment facilities.

Cargill and Continental Grain, of which Wayne Farms is a subsidiary, announced last week that they have completed the acquisition of Sanderson Farms. In a press release Monday, Cargill mentioned that the consent decree was not an act of contrition and denied any wrongdoing.

Slaughterhouses are among the most harmful workplaces in the country, with some of the highest rates of industrial accidents and occupational diseases, according to Human Rights Watch. Employees at meatpacking facilities typically work long hours for low pay, between blood and guts and standing shoulder to shoulder – situations that contributed to a wave of plant closures in the early days of the pandemic. coronavirus pandemic.

Prosecutors also charged Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms, two of the nation’s ten largest rooster processors, with other abuses of poultry farmers.

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