Lawsuit against poultry companies to move forward against Pilgrim’s Pride

 Lawsuit against poultry companies to move forward against Pilgrim’s Pride

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA. — A federal judge in Oklahoma recently granted a class certification that accuses Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., and other poultry producers of not compensating broiler chicken growers.

The lawsuit stated that 24,354 growers are seeking payment for an alleged conspiracy to suppress their wages since at least 2008. According to the plaintiffs’ documents, Pilgrim’s and its co-conspirators participated in a conspiracy using either a No-Poach Agreement (NPA) and/or an Information Sharing Agreement (ISA). 

The NPA allegedly stopped “poaching, soliciting, or recruiting growers from one another.” Plaintiffs also stated that growers would rarely switch between integrators and were discouraged from moving into areas with an existing integrator because they could not recruit established growers.

Pilgrim’s remains the only defendant in this case after other poultry businesses, including Tyson Foods Inc., Koch Foods and Perdue Foods, settled for millions of dollars over the last few years. 

Opposing class certification, Pilgrim’s Pride reiterated its position that there was not an overarching agreement among the poultry companies. The company has previously denied the allegations in other court filings. 

The full order by Judge Robert J. Shelby of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma is available here.

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