Judge Awards Meat Choppers $3.1 Million

November 13, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A federal judge sided with 815 current and former production-line employees of IBP in a class-action lawsuit, ordering that the meatpacking giant pay the workers $3.1 million in back salary, according to the Associated Press.

US District Judge Robert Whaley found that IBP, owned by Tyson Foods, had violated state and federal wage and hour laws by failing to pay workers for time spent preparing for and cleaning up after their jobs at the group’s Washington State plant.

The employees’  lawsuit claimed that between June 1995 and May 2000, workers arrived for their production line jobs 30 to 45 minutes early and stayed 20 minutes after their shift to remove, wash, and store equipment, according to the news report.

In addition, workers had to remove their contaminated work gear before lunch and then put it on afterward, on their own time.

However, maintaining that their practices were in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, IBP said in a statement “contrary to the claims made, we pay our team members for all of the production time worked. We also pay for the time they spend immediately before and after work, putting on and taking off the clothing and equipment required for their jobs.”

The plant employs about 1,400 workers, who process about 280 cows per hour.
– Camilla Klein                           editors@plansponsor.com