The Department of Labor (DOL) is investigating two major companies for allegedly employing migrant children for hazardous work.
The Two Companies Under Fire
According to The Times’ report dated September 18, both Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms were implicated in employing children for overnight shifts to clean slaughterhouses.
The Disturbing Working Conditions
They were exposed to harmful acids, leading to lung problems and persistent coughing among these young workers.
Launching Several Investigations
The DOL has initiated investigations not only into Tyson and Perdue but also into several other firms affiliated with these corporations, aiming to ascertain whether these plants have been illicitly employing children in perilous positions.
Major Companies Can’t Claim Ignorance Any Longer
Seema Nanda, the DOL’s Chief Legal Officer, emphasized the critical need for accountability throughout the supply chain, stating, “We are long past the day when brands can say that they don’t know that they have child labor in their supply chain.”
Need to Hold Companies Accountable
The DOL’s focus is on ensuring that higher-ups in the supply chain take responsibility for the actions of subcontractors and staffing agencies.
Fired Anyone Who Cooperated With a Journalist
The New York Times report also alleged that both Tyson and Perdue went to great lengths to identify and target the journalist investigating child labor allegations at their various facilities, subsequently firing individuals who cooperated with her inquiries.
Working and Sending Money to Families
The report showed that unaccompanied children arriving in the United States are more likely to be granted entry compared to adults, as they often work to send money back to support their families in their countries of origin.
Perdue Speaks Out
Perdue responded to the allegations by asserting their commitment to the lawful employment and safety of individuals working in their facilities.
They Say They Have Policies Preventing This
They stated that they have robust, long-standing policies to prevent minors from engaging in hazardous roles in violation of the law.
Auditing Their Child Labor Protection Policies
Perdue is subjecting its child labor prevention and protection procedures to a comprehensive third-party audit, including contractor compliance checks.
They’re Appalled by New Allegations
They also expressed their disappointment at the recent allegations and declared their intention to take appropriate actions based on the investigation’s findings.
No Word From Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods did not provide a response to inquiries.
Repeatedly Violating Child Labor Laws
Remarkably, this is not the first time in less than a year that the Department of Labor has been compelled to investigate both Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms for violations of child labor laws.
Hundreds of Children Working Night Shifts
In February, both companies were fined after the DOL revealed that Packers Sanitation Services, a cleaning company hired by Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms at some of their facilities, had employed at least 102 children for overnight shifts at 13 meat processing plants across the country.
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