A class-action lawsuit filed in Maryland claims that poultry processors conspired to hold down wages.
The lawsuit, which lists the names of three poultry workers from Arkansas, names all processors on Delmarva as well as other companies around the nation. Delmarva is the nation’s leading chicken producing region.
The processors named in the suit account for nearly 90 percent of chicken production in the U.S.
The suit claims that the companies, which collectively own 200 chicken plants, met at a hotel in Destin, FL and went on to exchange typically privileged information on compensation.
The suit stated that union representation did not make a big difference in pay scales.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that poultry industry wages tend to be lower than in similar food industries.
The poultry industry is seeing upward pressure on wages, due to higher minimum wages in Delaware and Maryland. Foes of the minimum wage have long claimed that the higher base wages force companies to raise wages across the board.
The industry has also been accused of price-fixing, according to one suit. The federal government intervened in the action.
See copy of suit below.