WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, is seeking information from major meat producers and chemical companies as part of a wider investigation into child labor violations. This comes after Cassidy’s inquiry into Packers Sanitation Services, Inc. (PSSI) following reports that the company had employed more than 102 children, including unaccompanied migrants, as young as 13 years old in hazardous conditions.
Following the Department of Labor’s (DOL) investigation into PSSI in 2022, DOL announced a large-scale investigation into major meat producers and chemical sanitation companies that work with these producers regarding the practice of employing children in hazardous jobs in violation of federal law. Specifically, DOL opened an investigation into Perdue Farms, one of the largest meat manufacturers in the nation, after reports that a fourteen-year-old migrant child from Guatemala working at a Perdue slaughterhouse in Virginia nearly had his arm cut off by a buzz saw as he was cleaning machinery. Additionally, Monogram Food Program, a meat processing and packing company, was recently issued a judicial order from the U.S. District Court in Minnesota that demanded the company stop engaging in supposed “oppressive child labor” and pay a civil fine to DOL. QSI Solutions, a chemical sanitation company, has also been recently named in a DOL investigation for child labor violations.
In these reports, there are documented instances of companies hiring migrant children to partake in dangerous and sometimes life-threatening work. Previously, Cassidy demanded answers from DOL after reports indicating that senior agency officials repeatedly ignored warnings and downplayed the exploitation of migrant children for cheap labor.
Cassidy requests information as to how these companies altered their policies to prevent future illegal hiring of children and whether they have or will hold senior employees accountable for engaging in these practices.
Read the full letter to Monogram Food Solutions here.
Read the full letter to Perdue Farms here.
Read the full letter to QSI Sanitation here.