Poultry Processing Wage Fixing Antitrust

DEFENDANT NAME: Perdue Farms Inc., Tyson Foods Inc., The Hillshire Brands Company, Keystone Foods LLC, Equity Group (Eufaula, Georgia, Kentucky Divisions) LLC, Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, Sanderson Farms Inc., Koch Foods Inc., JCG Foods (of Alabama and Georgia) LLC, Wayne Farms LLC, WFSP Foods LLC, Montaire Farms Inc., Peco Foods Inc., Simmons Foods Inc. & many others
STOCK SYMBOL:
CASE NUMBER: 1:19-cv-02521-ELH
CASE NAME:
COURT: U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
STATUS: Active
CLASS PERIOD:
LEAD PLAINTIFF DEADLINE:
DATE FILED: 08/30/19
COURT LOCATION:
RELATED DOCUMENTS:
CONTACT:

Have you worked for a major chicken processing company since January 2009?

Yours wages were likely lower due to a massive wage-fixing agreement between the biggest poultry companies in the nation. Find out your rights »

Hagens Berman has filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit against Perdue, Tyson, Hillshire Farms and many other of the nation's largest poultry processing companies for what we believe has been a years-long wage-fixing agreement, causing employees to receive far less for their work than they are legally owed.

AFFECTED POULTRY INDUSTRY EMPLOYERS

This class-action lawsuit pertains to many chicken processing companies, and our firm is actively seeking to hear from those who have been employed, or are currently employees, at one of the following poultry processors:

  • Perdue
  • Tyson
  • The Hillshire Brands Company
  • Keystone Foods LLC
  • Equity Group (Eufaula, Georgia, Kentucky Divisions) LLC
  • Pilgrim's Pride
  • Sanderson Farms
  • Koch Foods
  • JCG Foods
  • Wayne Farms LLC
  • Montaire Farms
  • Peco Foods
  • Simmons Foods
  • Fieldale Farms
  • George's
  • Ozark Mountain Poultry
  • House of Raeford O.K. Foods
  • Harrison Poultry
  • Mar-Jac Poultry
  • Amick Farms
  • Case Foods
  • Allen Harim Foods

If you were employed or are currently employed by one of the following companies, sign up now »

POULTRY PROCESSING WAGE-FIXING EXPLAINED

For more than a decade, many poultry processing companies have conspired and combined to fix and depress the compensation paid to non-supervisory production and maintenance employees at chicken processing plants in violation of federal law. 

Together the companies named in this lawsuit control more than 90 percent of the chicken sold in the United States, and own and operate approximately 200 chicken processing plants in the continental United States. These processors employ hundreds of thousands of individuals who turn live chickens into the food that many Americans eat.

We believe that these companies have collectively suppressed wage rates and employment benefits based on a calculated system, stifling competition across similar places of employment and positions within the chicken processing industry, all to increase overall profits. "Defendants have engaged in this unlawful conspiracy to maximize their profits by reducing labor costs, which have comprised a substantial share of each Defendant Processor’s total operating costs."

THREE METHODS OF WAGE AND BENEFITS SUPPRESSION

  • First, senior executives held recurring off-the-books meetings where they exchanged information about, discussed, agreed upon and ultimately fixed the wages and benefits of Class Members at artificially depressed levels.
  • Second, processors frequently exchanged detailed, current and non-public wage and benefits information through surveys conducted by Agri Stats and Webber Meng Sahl and Company Inc. d/b/a WMS & Company Inc. The Agri Stats reports provided monthly effective hourly wage rates regarding categories of chicken processing plant workers from each processor's plants. WMS conducted a detailed annual survey of the hourly wages and benefits paid by each processor. Defendants used the data to fix and depress workers' compensation and ensure and confirm that no conspirator deviated from the conspiracy.
  • Third, managers at affected chicken processing plants engaged in bilateral and regional exchanges of wage and benefits information. Those managers frequently reached out directly to their counterparts at competitors’ chicken processing plants to request and exchange wage and benefits data, including data regarding plans for future wages and benefits. Those plant-to-plant exchanges of wage and benefits information were conducted through various mediums, including telephone calls and surveys disseminated through electronic listservs.

YOUR RIGHTS AS AN EMPLOYEE

Hagens Berman believes that employees at hundreds of chicken processing plants have been cheated in wages and benefits, and we intend to fight to recover their losses. When employers cooperate to stifle employee pay for the sake of their profits, workers always lose, and we’re here to challenge this illegal wage-fixing. Those affected include employees who have occupied various positions along processing lines, from hanging live chickens to slaughtering the birds to slicing meat from their bones to repairing the processing machines.

Under federal antitrust law, the Sherman Act, your wages as an employee are protected under law that prohibits agreements that stifle competition and lead to (in this case) lower wages within a single industry or area of work.

TOP EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS AND ANTITRUST FIRM

Hagens Berman is one of the most successful employment and antitrust litigation law firms in the U.S. and has achieved more than $260 billion in settlements for consumers in lawsuits against big banks, technology corporations, automakers and others. Hagens Berman has achieved many monumental settlements in antitrust suits, including one against Apple and various publishing companies in 2016 that settled for a total $560 million. Your claim will be handled by attorneys experienced in employment and antitrust law.

NO COST TO YOU

There is no cost or fee whatsoever involved in joining this investigation. In the event Hagens Berman or any other firm obtains a settlement that provides benefits to class members, the court will decide a reasonable fee to be awarded to the class' legal team. In no case will any class member ever be asked to pay any out-of-pocket sum.


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08/30/19: Complaint Filed

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