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Lawsuit alleges chicken processors fixed wages

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A class-action lawsuit claims 18 chicken processors have conspired to fix wages for workers. Three poultry plant workers filed the lawsuit last week claiming the industry has conspired to fix and depress wages since 2009. The lawsuit named defendants including chicken processors Perdue Farms, Tyson Foods, Keystone Foods, and Pilgrim’s Pride, among others.

Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports the lawsuit claims leadership for the processors held “off the books” meetings to fix wages and benefits, along with exchanging wage data. The companies named in the lawsuit operate approximately 200 processing plants in the United States, employing hundreds of thousands of workers, and produce roughly 90 percent of the nation’s chicken processed chicken.

The lawsuit also claims the price-fixing has held employees of processors in poverty. A spokesperson for Perdue Farms told Meatingplace “we do not believe this suit has any merit,” adding employees receive wage increases, and that the company makes adjustments as wage trends shift in the United States.