The Associated Press is reporting that a federal judge has granted conditional class-action status to a lawsuit filed on behalf of an estimated 700 workers at a slaughterhouse in Kansas.
Workers at a Kansas packing plant are seeking unpaid wages and overtime from Creekstone Farms Premium Beef on behalf of the 700 employees at the firm’s Arkansas City plant. The lawsuit filed April 6 in U.S. District Court names employees Paz Sanchez and Elvis Posadas as the representative plaintiffs and seeks to include anyone who worked at the facility in the past three years. It claims the company hasn’t been paying employees for all of the time they spend working.
Workers are seeking an unspecified amount for uncompensated services and time, as well as their legal costs. The lawsuit claims Creekstone Farms has a practice of paying hourly meat processing employees based on a principle of “gang time.” Gang time commences when the first animal crosses an employee’s workstation and ends when the employee clocks out (See Williams et. al. v. Cargill Meat Solutions Corp, Case No. 09C1006 (2010)).
It contends workers are typically paid only for the time that their assigned production lines are running, along with 10 minutes a day to put on their protective clothing. The suit also contends the company failed to pay for overtime.
Gang time is an often litigated issues. The provisional grant of class action status will provide the employees a hefty bargaining chip. Look for this case to settle in the coming weeks.
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