DALLAS, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Eighteen former employees who worked at
Swift & Co. have filed a $23 million lawsuit alleging that the meat packing
company conspired to manipulate and depress the labor market and wages by
hiring illegal immigrants. Earlier this week federal immigration officers
raided six Swift production facilities in six states, arresting nearly
1,300 people in what is believed to be the nation's largest-ever workplace
raid on illegal workers.
"These plaintiffs are legal residents and victims in a longstanding
scheme by Swift to depress and artificially lower the wages of all its
workers by knowingly hiring illegal workers," says Angel Reyes, of Dallas'
Heygood, Orr, Reyes & Bartolomei, attorney for the plaintiffs. "By
lessening its labor costs and increasing its profits, Swift has severely
damaged the potential earnings and livelihood of these hard-working men and
women. This litigation seeks to redress those wrongs."
Each of the plaintiffs were employed at the Swift facility in Cactus,
Texas, located north of Amarillo. A total of 295 people were arrested on
immigration violations or other criminal charges in a raid of the Cactus
facility on Tuesday, Dec. 12.
According to the lawsuit, Swift executives "actively sought to locate
these illegal immigrants and hire them -- knowing full well that it was in
violation of the immigration laws of the United States to do so." The
lawsuit also accuses the company of transporting, smuggling, harboring and
concealing illegal immigrants.
"When the Swift plant opened in Cactus, wages were approximately $20 an
hour," says lead litigation counsel Michael Heygood. "Now, the average wage
is approximately $12 to $13 an hour. Illegal immigration has fueled this
depression in wages."
The lawsuit, filed late Friday in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Texas alleges that defendants including Swift and its
owners, the Dallas-based investment firm of HM Capital Partners LLC,
formerly known as Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, engaged in an "enterprise that
grossly affected commerce through a pattern of racketeering activity" in
violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.
For more information or to speak with a plaintiff, contact Michael
Heygood or Angel Reyes at 214-526-7900 or Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or
SOURCE Heygood, Orr, Reyes & Bartolomei