According to the World Socialist Web Site, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has fined The Exclusive Poultry Inc., a Californian poultry farm, $3.8 million for illegally employing and endangering children, cutting wages, and firing workers who cooperated with investigators.
A DOL report details the violations committed by the poultry company:
“The Exclusive Poultry and their associated companies willfully failed to pay required overtime wages to their employees, even when they worked 50 or 60 hours per week… [Tony] Bran (company founder) directed employees under 18 years-old to use sharp knives to debone and cut poultry and employed children to work longer and at times not permitted by the law. They also directed minors to work in prohibited facilities and failed to pay overtime wages, all in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act [FLSA].
The poultry business was also accused of blackmailing workers based on immigration status using intimidation and retaliation against any employee who wished to exercise their rights under the FLSA by,
“telling employees that communication with the Acting Secretary will result in immigration or other legal action against them, and otherwise deterring employees from cooperating with or speaking to the acting secretary’s representatives through threats, bribes or intimidation.”
Lessons not learned
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that The Exclusive Poultry has committed egregious labor law violations. In April, they were found guilty of wage theft and paid a $1.47 million settlement to the California Labor Commissioner.
This company is not alone in its exploitative business practices. Early this year, Packers Sanitation Services Inc. was fined $1.5 million for similar violations and has continued exploiting children and putting them in danger since. Additionally, auto parts suppliers for companies like Kia and Hyundai were also found guilty of employing children as young as 12 years old, and over 10 other auto part plants are currently under similar investigations.
Clearly, a meager fine barely suffices as even a slap on the wrist.
Let’s disrupt this abominable business model
With more reports coming out of companies violating child labor laws, the need for states to stop child labor law rollbacks is urgent. Stand with Freedom United and call on states to repeal legislation that helps companies facilitate and get away with abusive child labor. Take action here and join our WhatsApp community to stay updated on our campaign developments and continual actions to end child labor rollbacks in the U.S.