The Washington Post
Poultry processors to pay restitution
Three of the largest U.S. poultry processors have agreed to settle claims by the Justice Department over their alleged long-standing effort to share information about workers to drive down compensation.
Cargill, Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms have agreed to pay more than $84 million in restitution to workers harmed by the information sharing to resolve civil antitrust lawsuits, according to proposed consent decrees made public Monday.
The government also sued and reached a settlement including a data consulting firm, Webber, Meng, Sahl and Co.
“Through a brazen scheme to exchange wage and benefit information, these poultry processors stifled competition and harmed a generation of plant workers who face demanding and sometimes dangerous conditions to earn a living,” said Doha Mekki of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in a statement.
Under the agreement, Cargill Meat Solutions is to pay
$15 million, Sanderson will pay $38.3 million and Wayne will pay $31.5 million.
The settlement was filed Monday in a U.S. District Court in Maryland shortly after the lawsuits were filed.
The department also said it had reached a settlement with Cargill and Continental Grain, which closed a deal on Friday to buy Sanderson Farms. Sanderson will be combined with Wayne Farms, a Continental Grain subsidiary.