Senators Menendez, and Booker Lead Oversight Effort to Hold Companies Accountable for Contracting with Packers Sanitation Services, Inc. Which Unlawfully Employed Migrant Child Labor. Senators Menendez and Booker, along with other Senate colleagues, have sent letters to nine companies that contracted with Packers Sanitation Services, Inc. (PSSI), following the Department of Labor’s findings of unlawful employment of migrant child labor at these companies’ facilities. The senators are requesting information from each company regarding the changes they have made or plan to make in their contractor monitoring and procurement processes to prevent a recurrence of such incidents.
- Through their diligent efforts, Senators Menendez and Booker, along with their colleagues, are working to address this grave issue head-on. By sending letters to the companies that contracted with PSSI, they are demanding transparency and accountability. The senators are seeking detailed information from each company about the steps they have taken or plan to take to rectify their contractor monitoring and procurement processes.
- This oversight effort is crucial in fostering a fair and just environment for all workers, especially vulnerable populations like migrant children. The senators’ commitment to holding companies responsible sends a powerful message that exploitative labor practices will not be tolerated. By shining a light on these violations, Senators Menendez and Booker are advocating for the rights and well-being of those who have been unlawfully employed.
- The leadership demonstrated by Senators Menendez and Booker underscores their dedication to safeguarding workers’ rights and fighting against exploitative labor practices. Their tireless efforts serve as a reminder that no company should be allowed to profit from the exploitation of vulnerable individuals, particularly children. Through this oversight effort, they are striving to create lasting change and ensure that all companies uphold ethical standards when it comes to their contracting practices.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today, alongside several Senate colleagues, sent letters to nine companies that contracted with Packers Sanitation Services, Inc. (PSSI), which the Department of Labor (DOL) found were unlawfully employing migrant child labor at these host companies’ facilities.
“We write in response to recent reports that your company employed a contractor, Packers Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI), that violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) prohibition on the use of child labor in hazardous environments and exploited migrant children,” wrote the senators to the nine companies. “We are concerned that your company potentially turned a blind eye to glaring child labor issues in your facilities, and are deeply troubled by the response to previous Congressional inquiries that seek to shift accountability away from host companies to third-party contractors. While we recognize that you may have severed ties with PSSI, we are seeking information on your company’s process for monitoring contractor compliance with labor laws as well as information on the changes you will be implementing to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.” says the officials.
Since 2018, the DOL has seen a 69 percent increase in companies illegally employing children. In fiscal year 2023, the DOL found 835 companies it investigated had employed more than 3,800 children in violation of labor laws. In this particular case, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division began investigating PSSI in August 2022 and found PSSI liable for employing more than 100 children, aged thirteen to seventeen at 13 meat-processing facilities in eight states. As DOL noted when unveiling an interagency child labor task force in February, companies who contract for services are often not vigilant about who is working in their facilities, creating child labor violations up and down the supply chain, and host companies often falsely claim that they are unaware or unable to control child labor issues happening at their worksites.
EMEA Tribune Provided Letter Copies via Senator’s PR Team:
“We are concerned that your company (nine companies total) did not conduct sufficiently rigorous monitoring and oversight of third-party contractors like PSSI. This lack of vigilance… allows for egregious violations and raises broader concerns of compliance and accountability,” added the senators. “Further, we are concerned that, despite the investigation and settlement by the DOL, Congressional inquiries, and outreach from the United States Department of Agriculture, several host companies have failed to terminate contracts with PSSI, have failed to address the deficiencies in their existing compliance and auditing practices, and/or have failed to institute company-wide oversight practices to address the current crisis.”
“Without concerted efforts by all relevant parties to root out all instances of child labor across the industry, children will continue to be illegally employed and exploited in dangerous working conditions in our country,” concluded the senators. “As such, we write to ask your company a number of questions to ensure that you properly monitor your contractors for potential FLSA and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) violations, including child labor, and get to the bottom of past monitoring failures.”
The senators sent letters to nine companies that contracted with PSSI, including Tyson Foods, George’s Inc. (part of Rosen’s Diversified, Inc.), JBS Foods, Maple Leaf Farms Inc., Cargill Inc., Turkey Valley Farms, Buckhead Meat of Minnesota (part of Sysco Corporation), Gibbon Packing Co., and Greater Omaha Packing Co. Inc.
Joining Sens. Menendez and Booker in this oversight effort are Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Letter To Following Companies by the Senators.
- Turkey Valley Farms, Inc. (Tom Scholten) President
- Rosen’s Diversified, Inc (Tom Rosen) Chief Executive Officer
- Tyson Foods, Inc. (Donnie D. King) Chief Executive Officer
- Greater Omaha Packing Co, Inc. (Henry Davis) Executive Officer
- JBS Foods USA, (Wesley Batista Filho) Chief Executive Officer
- Maple Leaf Farms, Inc. (Scott Reinholt) Chief Executive Officer
- Syco Corporation (Kevin Hourican) Chief Executive Officer
- George’s Inc. (Carles George & Charles George) Co-Chief Executive Officers
- Cargill, Inc. (Brian Sikes) President and Chief Executive Officer)