According to a Sept. 23 “New York Times” article, the Department of Labor has opened investigations into Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms to determine whether migrant children have been working overnight shifts for contractors to clean the two companies’ Virginia slaughterhouses. The agency also is investigating Fayette Industrial and QSI, the contractors that operate cleaning shifts for Perdue and Tyson.
So far, none of the parties involved has addressed the allegations. However, a Perdue Farms spokesperson issued a statement that the company has “strict, longstanding policies in place” to prevent minors from working in hazardous conditions, and the company holds its contractors to the same standards.
The Perdue Farms spokesperson added, “We are conducting a comprehensive third-party audit of child labor prevention and protection procedures including a compliance audit of contractors. We will take appropriate actions based on the findings of that investigation…and plan to cooperate fully with any government inquiry on this matter.”
|Department of Labor Program to Address Workplace Hazards|
On Sept. 23, Seema Nanda, the U.S. Solicitor of Labor, told “The New York Times,” “We are long past the day when brands can say that they don’t know that they have child labor in their supply chain. The intention [of the investigation] is to make sure that those higher up in the supply chain are holding their subcontractors and staffing agencies accountable.”
According to “The New York Times,” “Fayette and QSI said they had policies against child labor and were not aware of the federal investigations. Tyson said it planned to end its relationship with QSI at several plants, while Perdue has told Fayette that it may end its contract.”