Labor Dept., PSSI settle suit alleging child labor at meatpacking plants

Federal officials and a Wisconsin-based company have agreed to a settlement after claims were made that the company employed minors at multiple meatpacking plants, including two in Minnesota.

Last month, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reported that the U.S. Department of Labor had filed a lawsuit alleging Packers Sanitation Services, Inc. (PSSI) employed juveniles at facilities owned by JBS USA in Worthington and Grand Island, Neb., as well as at a Turkey Valley Farms site in Marshall.

RELATED: Dept. of Labor alleges minors worked overnight shifts at Minnesota meatpacking plants

Documents filed Tuesday show that PSSI admitted to multiple violations and agreed to take several corrective actions to end the lawsuit.

According to the documents, PSSI will:

  • Review and enhance its child labor policies
  • Hire a specialist to ensure compliance with child labor laws, train employees and audit the company’s compliance with the laws
  • Add a child labor provision to client contracts
  • Discipline, suspend or fire any managers responsible for future labor violations
  • Provide a list of minors formerly employed by the company to the Department of Labor
  • Agree to not retaliate against any employees or their family members for filing complaints about labor violations

Additionally, the labor department can still fine the company within the next 90 days for its violations.

In regards to the settlement, PSSI provided the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:

“We are pleased to have reached a resolution with the Department of Labor (DOL) inquiry into this matter. We have been crystal clear from the start: PSSI has a zero-tolerance policy against employing anyone under the age of 18 and fully shares DOL’s objective of ensuring it is followed to the letter at all local plants.

“While we already have industry-leading procedures to confirm the identities of our employees – including mandatory use of the government’s E-verify system for new hires, extensive training, multiple audits, and biometrics — we wholly support working to further strengthen those policies moving forward. We look forward to continuing our critical work of helping deliver a safe and reliable food supply for all Americans.”

Packers Sanitation Services, Inc. spokesperson