Sunday, December 24, 2006


Who "Drives Down" Wages?

One of the subtle little anti-immigrant messages that came down the pike is how immigrants “drive down” wageBolds. Uh-huh. There are huge demonstrations by immigrants, legal and illegal, protesting high wages. After all, in their countries-of-birth wages are much much lower, and since everyone knows there’s a major conspiracy to turn the USA into a Third World nation, wages have to go down. The employers reluctantly have gone along with this…

Swift Tried to Depress Wages, Say Ex-Workers in Lawsuit
The Associated Press
Tuesday 19 December 2006

The meatpacking company "knowingly" hired illegal workers in an effort to cut labor costs, a lawyer says.

Dallas, Texas - Former employees are suing Swift & Co. for $23 million, alleging the meatpacking company conspired to keep wages down by hiring illegal workers.

The 18 former employees are legal residents who worked at a plant in Cactus, Texas, north of Amarillo. The plant was one of six facilities - including one in Marshalltown, Ia. - raided in a multistate federal sweep that led to the arrests of nearly 1,300 employees and temporarily halted Swift's operations.

"These plaintiffs are ... victims in a long-standing scheme by Swift to depress and artificially lower the wages of its workers by knowingly hiring illegal workers," said their lawyer, Angel Reyes.

The lawsuit was filed late Friday against Swift, based in Greeley, Colo., and investment firm HM Capital Partners LLC, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. They contend Swift and HM Capital Partners engaged in racketeering to manipulate commerce.

"When the Swift plant opened in Cactus, wages were approximately $20 an hour," said another plaintiffs attorney, Michael Haygood. "Now, the average wage is approximately $12 to $13 an hour."

Wages went up this fall after about 400 workers were fired or left Swift's plants voluntarily after the company demanded interviews of workers it suspected of being in the country illegally.

In Marshalltown, the starting wage was raised from $9.55 to $11.50 this fall in an attempt to fill the vacancies, said the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

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