BALTIMORE, MD. — On Dec. 7, Perdue Farms reached an agreement settling an antitrust suit filed over three years ago.

In 2019, Judy Jien, Kieo Jibidi and Elaisa Clement filed a complaint against 18 poultry processing companies for allegedly conspiring to fix and depress employee wages.

The processors — including major corporations like Perdue Farms, Tyson Foods Inc., Sanderson Farms Inc., Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. — composed 90% of the chicken category market segment at the time, according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs alleged that, for more than a decade, the companies engaged in the conspiracy, depressing production and maintenance workers’ wages. Sensitive compensation data was exchanged through consulting companies Agri Stats Inc. and Webber, Meng, Sahl and Company Inc. In addition to the private data exchange, the plaintiffs said the processors’ executives held “off the books” meetings and managers exchanged future compensation plans across plants via phone calls and electronic surveys.

In September, three of the major processors, Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms LLC, settled with $84.8 million, while denying wrongdoing.

Perdue agreed to pay $60.65 million to settle the claims. In Perdue’s notice of settlement filed to the US District Court in Maryland, the involved parties wrote to “move for preliminary approval of the settlement agreement in the near future.”