They Hired Minors To Do What?!

( – Child Labor is still one of the cancers of modern society, and this is one example of many that happen every day.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has placed a temporary stop on a Tennessee company Fayette Janitorial Service LLC for using children for overnight work in meatpacking plants.
This situation was detailed in recent legal documents. The DOL complains that Fayette Janitorial Service LLC wrongly employed minors for cleaning duties in dangerous environments specifically at a Perdue Farms location in Virginia and Seaboard Triumph Foods LLC in Sioux City.

The law according to the DOL doesn’t allow minors to work in high-risk jobs such as those in the meat and poultry processing industry. Court documents highlight that Fayette Janitorial hired 15 kids, some as young as 13 in Virginia and at least nine minors in Iowa to work night shifts cleaning machinery.

One severe incident involved a 14-year-old at the Virginia plant who got seriously injured while trying to clean a machine in 2022. This accident led to the child being hospitalized for 12 days missing a month of school and undergoing three surgeries.

The court filings give a distressing account of the incident “Someone at the Perdue Facility’s sanitation office called 911 to report Minor Child J’s injury. The dispatcher asked how old Minor Child J was. The caller responded ‘um,’ and the line went dead… When the call reconnected thirty seconds later, the dispatcher again asked the age of the injured employee and was told Minor Child J was 19 years old.”

Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda called these actions by the company a serious breach of labor laws.

In response to these accusations a spokesperson for Fayette Janitorial LLC stated to the media “We have been fully cooperating and complying with an ongoing investigation by the Department of Labor in relation to events that occurred in prior years. We have continued to work diligently to ensure that something like this cannot occur. Fayette has made significant procedural improvements and enhancements over the past two years to bolster our hiring protocols, including a biometric technology to assist in employee processes, the hiring of a new CEO, and adding an additional third-party legal representation to aid in the vetting of employees. Fayette Janitorial is committed to always providing a lawful, ethical employment, as well as a safe and secure work environment – adhering to any and all guidelines set in place.”

This case has thrown a spotlight on the issue of child labor within the meatpacking industry coming after the DOL opened investigations into Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms for similar allegations.

Following a New York Times exposé on a migrant child’s injury while working at the Virginia facility Perdue stated “We are appalled by these recent allegations as they are not representative of who we are as a company and what we stand for.”

Both Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods have mentioned that the DOL had not informed them about any investigations. Tyson Foods chose not to comment on the matter.