Company agrees to make changes after being accused of using child labor in Minnesota

Photo showing limited visibility and condition of the floor at the Worthington JBS plant. Photo located in lawsuit document (taken by WHI Latuff) (Supplied)

The company sued by the U.S. Department of Labor for using child labor at slaughterhouses and meat processing facilities in Minnesota and Nebraska has entered into an agreement related to the case.

The Department of Labor says the injunction is to prevent Packers Sanitation Services from further violations of child labor laws.

The DOL says Packers Sanitation Services has agreed to immediate:

 Immediately review existing policies and training materials for compliance with child labor laws and ensure all employees engaged in the hiring and on-boarding of workers follows all applicable child labor laws.

  • Hire a third-party consultant or compliance specialist within 90 days to provide quarterly child labor compliance training to all management personnel for a period of 3 years and annually thereafter.
  • Work with the compliance specialist, prior to any training, to review and revise as necessary company policies and procedures for compliance with the FLSA’s child labor provisions.
  • Allow the compliance specialist to monitor and audit PSSI’s compliance with the child labor provisions for a period of 3 years including periodic, unannounced site visits of at least six facilities on a quarterly basis.
  • Include – within 30 days of the compliance specialist in place – a child labor provision in its contract template provided to clients, for contracts executed after entry of this order, with the name and contact information of the compliance specialist for any questions or concerns regarding potential child labor at their establishment and attach Fact Sheet #43 on Child Labor in Non-Agriculture Occupations.
  • Impose sanctions, including termination and/or suspension, upon any management personnel responsible for child labor violations after the date of the court order.
  • Notify the department – within 45 days after the entry of the court order – of each individual under 18 years of age whose employment was terminated after the date of the entry of the order.
  • Post the consent order and judgment at each of its own facilities where employee notices are customarily posted for a period of not less than 60 days.
  • Provide the Department of Labor publication Fact Sheet # 43 regarding the child labor provisions of the FLSA to each of its employees, in the language used by the employee.

Packers Sanitation Services worked as a cleaning subcontractor at JBS plants in Worthington, Minnesota and Grand Island, Nebraska, along with Turkey Valley Farms in Marshall, Minnesota.

The Department of Labor says the company hired at least 31 children between the ages of 13 to 17 to work hazardous jobs, cleaning dangerous equipment and working overnight shifts.

In an update on Tuesday, the Department of Labor says they've now determined at least 50 children were hired by Packers Sanitation Services including two additional locations.

The DOL says Packers Sanitation Services is one of the largest providers of food safety sanitation.

The investigation into the company is ongoing.