Tyson Foods Inc. has agreed to a nationwide injunction that will require the company to pay its poultry processing workers for all hours of labor, reported the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The agreement follows an investigation of alleged unpaid wages.
This is not the first time a poultry processing plant has received national attention for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) issues. In a similar case, Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., a processor in Dallas, TX, was involved in a FLSA dispute which ended with a consent judgment this year.
The DOL reported that as part of the agreement Tyson Foods must keep accurate records, and compensate workers, for time spent carrying out the following work-related tasks:
- Putting on and taking off protective and sanitary items while at the plant, also known as donning and doffing
- Washing and sanitizing themselves and the protective and sanitary items
- Walking and waiting during the workday
The Labor Department’s district court complaint was filed in May 2002, following an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division at the company’s Blountsville plant. In addition to the nationwide injunction, workers at the Blountsville plant will receive $500,000 in overtime back wages.
“While the complaint’s back wage claim was limited to violations at Blountsville, the department obtained an injunction that will govern the pay practices for poultry processing employees at all of the company’s union and non-union plants,” said the DOL.
The agreement will become fully effective at the company’s non-union plants no later than December 1, 2012. There are interim agreements until that time.