Processing Magazine

Cargill Settles Lawsuit Over Wages at Nebraska Plant

July 21, 2011

According to the Associated Press, Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. has settled a class-action lawsuit brought by workers seeking back pay for unpaid time they spent preparing for and cleaning up after their shifts at its Schuyler meatpacking plant. Wichita, Kan.-based Cargill Meat Solutions had been headed to trial over the federal lawsuit, but under the settlement approved in U.S. District Court in Omaha, it agreed to pay eligible current and former workers $4 to $6 for each week they were denied extra the extra pay since April 2006. The company also agreed to pay $2,000 each to two former workers who filed lawsuits in the case that were later joined, and nearly $822,000 to the workers'' attorneys. Those who were in jobs that required the most equipment, such as mesh work clothes, could get $6 a week, while those who donned the minimum equipment could get $4, according to the settlement. Those who didn''t need extra equipment to perform their jobs won''t get a payment. Former Cargill workers sued last year, saying hourly employees spend a substantial amount of time each day on work duties without getting paid. Those duties include dressing in protective gear, sanitizing tools and walking to and from work stations. The plaintiffs said in their filings that the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires the company to pay for preparation and cleanup time.