SALISBURY, MD. — On March 15, Perdue Farms Inc. agreed to pay $60.7 million to settle claims of conspiracy to suppress competition for labor and to lower workers’ wages at poultry processing plants and other facilities.
The plaintiffs’ request for approval of terms and the proposed settlement was filed on March 14 following over three years of litigation. Perdue agreed to the settlement back in December 2022.
In 2019 workers sued multiple poultry processors, including Perdue Farms, for allegedly violating the Sherman Act by conspiring to drive down hourly wages and salaries at poultry processing operations for more than ten years.
The plaintiffs alleged the companies conspired through the exchange of compensation data provided by consulting companies Agri Stats Inc. and Webber, Meng, Sahl and Company Inc. The plaintiffs also alleged company executives held “off the books” meetings, and managers exchanged future compensation plans across plants via phone calls and electronic surveys.
In September of 2022, three of the major processors, Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms LLC, settled with $84.8 million, while denying wrongdoing.
Throughout the process, Perdue has denied the allegations.