In this file:
· Iowa pork plant defends how its workers are treated
… Seaboard Triumph Foods says it follows all employment laws and it is working with its local union and officials to resolve the matter…
· Sioux City pork plant says it's investigating claims of mistreatment of Micronesian workers
Seaboard Triumph Foods said Thursday it's investigating allegations that company representatives abused and mistreated Micronesian citizens recruited to work at the Sioux City pork plant…
Iowa pork plant defends how its workers are treated
By Associated Press
via WOWT-TV Omaha (NE) - Oct 03, 2019
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) -- An Iowa pork processing plant is working to address concerns the island nation of Micronesia raised about how some of its citizens working at the plant are being treated.
Seaboard Triumph Foods says it follows all employment laws and it is working with its local union and officials to resolve the matter.
Micronesia sent a formal letter to the U.S. State Department Friday asking U.S. officials to investigate possible misconduct at the plant, including whether false Social Security numbers are used.
Seaboard says workers are assigned a temporary tax ID number until their permanent Social Security card arrives a couple months after they start work.
Seaboard officials say...
Sioux City pork plant says it's investigating claims of mistreatment of Micronesian workers
Dave Dreeszen, Sioux City Journal (IA)
Oct 3, 2019
SIOUX CITY -- Seaboard Triumph Foods said Thursday it's investigating allegations that company representatives abused and mistreated Micronesian citizens recruited to work at the Sioux City pork plant.
"We will continue to investigate and respond until we’ve demonstrated to the Micronesian Embassy how our Sioux City plant is compliant with all labor laws and regulations and fully addresses their formal inquiry," the company said in a statement Thursday.
The government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) lodged a formal request Friday for the U.S. government to investigate STF, after dozens of the sovereign island nation's citizens claimed that employers at STF "harassed" them physically and emotionally, including verbal abuse.
STF acknowledged it works with a recruitment firm in FSM, which consists of 607 small islands in the Western Pacific, roughly 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. The company said it launched an investigation immediately after the allegations became known, and has been working with its Micronesian staff, the Sioux City Human Rights Commission and the United Food & Commercial Workers to address any potential abuses or labor violations. UFCW Local 222 represents hourly workers at the plant, which employs nearly 2,000.
"We can already say many of the allegations being presented are untrue," STF said in the statement.
Some Micronesian citizens allege that after arriving in the U.S., the work they were performing for STF was inconsistent with the descriptions they were provided by recruiters and with the terms of the employment contracts they signed. The workers also claim that STF issued them false Social Security numbers, seized their passports and refused to provide them with copies of their employment contracts.
In the statement, STF said Micronesian citizens are assigned a temporary Tax Identification Number (TIN) until they receive their permanent Social Security card from the Social Security Administration, which can take up to 90 days. The TIN allows the workers to be paid in the meantime, the company said.
The company also denied holding any of the employees' passports.
"We have also reviewed the employment paperwork of the Micronesian employees under this program with the union to ensure that what was offered by STF is currently reflected in their job assignment, compensation package and that they have access to copies of their employment paperwork," the company said in the statement.
The formal request for an investigation, which was posted to the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia's website, claims that FSM citizens have reported "serious and sustained abuse," including potential human trafficking, labor abuse and "what appear to be other violations of U.S. law" at the pork plant.
In the statement, STF said harassment in the workplace is "absolutely prohibited."
"...We will take all steps necessary to prevent and eliminate harassment. All complaints will be investigated promptly and, if the investigation confirms conduct contrary to this policy has occurred, Seaboard Triumph Foods will take immediate, appropriate, corrective action,'' the company said in the statement.
To help the Micronesian workers successfully integrate into the community, the company said it...