Former Employees Sue Swift for Hiring Illegals

19 12 2006

Cross Posted by InMuscatine

December 19th, 2006

Rocky Mountain News | Former employees say Swift hired illegal workers to lower wages:

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

The 18 former employees are U.S. citizens and legal residents who worked at a plant in Cactus, north of Amarillo, one of six facilities raided an 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 longstanding scheme by Swift to depress and artificially lower the wages of its workers by knowingly hiring illegal workers,’’ said their attorney, Angel Reyes. ‘’By lessening its labor costs and increasing its profits, Swift has severely damaged the potential earnings and livelihood of these hardworking men and women.’’

Well, well, well… this is not the same thing as the Swift CEO has been telling us, now is it ?

Greeley-based Swift and the Dallas investment firm that owns it, HM Capital Partners LLC, said in a statement that ‘’the lawsuit is completely without merit.’’

The lawsuit was filed late Friday against Swift and HM Capital Partners 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. Illegal immigration has fueled this depression in wages.’’

The raids were part of an investigation into the theft of Social Security numbers by people to work at Swift plants in Cactus, Grand Island; Neb.; Greeley; Hyrum, Utah; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Worthington, Minn.

There certainly was a strong profit motive to hire illegals. But more than that, this story points out there are – in fact – Americans that WILL do these jobs, just not at a wage that Swift wants to pay. It would appear to ring true that illegals were brought in just to pad profits.

Wah.

I have said since the beginning of the whole immigration debate the market was out of whack because of the lower wages sought by the illegal aliens. If you can find legal citizens willing to work for $5 per hour in a meat packing plant, then so be it. The market has worked, and again demonstrates its ruthless efficiency.

But when employers skirt the rules to tip the balance of power artificially in their favor, I still maintain we should treat them no better or worse than we would treat a drug dealer : seize every scrap of their wealth and use the confiscated wealth to power more raids against those who would hire illegals.

Combined with this, we should also make being an illegal alien in the United States a felony – just like they do in Mexico ! Just like Mexico, we should drop this “specialized training” nonsense and allow average citizens to place SUSPECTED illegals under arrest.

I agree the United States is in desperate need of immigration law reform. I would just like to see real laws with very real, very severe punishments for both the illegals AND the employers who would hire them. It’s far past time to get tough, and get serious.

**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email the coalition and let us know at what level you would like to participate.**

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