Pilgrim’s Pride reaches settlement in wage-fixing suit

By Peter Thomas Ricci on 6/17/2021

Pilgrim’s Pride has reached a settlement in a wage-fixing suit involving the largest poultry processors in the U.S.

While the terms of the settlement have not yet been released, a filing with the U.S. District Court of Maryland states that the agreement settles all claims against Pilgrim’s.

Originally filed in August 2019, the lawsuit alleges that Pilgrim’s, Perdue Farms, Tyson Foods, Koch Foods and others engaged in a decade-long conspiracy to fix the wages for hundreds of thousands of workers.

The lawsuit asserts the defendants formed, implemented, monitored and enforced the conspiracy by holding “off the books” in-person meetings where they agreed to fix wages. It further alleges they exchanged detailed wage and benefit information via Agri Stats, and that plant managers engaged in bilateral and regional exchanges of wage information.

Though Judge Stephanie Gallagher tentatively tossed the case in 2020, she ruled in March of this year that the case could be expanded to include turkey plant employees and employees on salary.

Pilgrim’s settlement comes in the same week Tyson Foods agreed to settle a class action antitrust lawsuit brought by chicken growers in Oklahoma.

Researchers are blaming the lack in wages on