18 former employees of the Swift & Company meat packing company are suing claiming the company intentionally manipulated their wages down by hiring illegal aliens in order to profit. All 18 worked at a plant in Cactus, north of Amarillo, Texas, one of the 6 locations raided in busts by ICE last week that netted 1,300 arrests of illegal aliens and those who used identity fraud to obtain work. They are seeking $23 million in damages.
The Greeley Tribune
"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."
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."
Although no charges were filed against Swift, Reyes said the plaintiffs believe company officials looked the other way when hiring workers from Central America willing to work for less money. Over time, those workers began replacing legal residents and U.S. citizens, many of them Hispanic, Reyes said.
They replaced Hispanic legal workers with Hispanic illegal workers and the pay they offered decreased over 40% in the meantime. It seems pretty cut and dry to me. For Swift to deny that they didn't know the people they were replacing other works with were illegal aliens and that they were just people willing to work for nearly half the pay is just absolutely ridiculous. Reports by the union say that 90% of Swift & Companies workers were Hispanic at the time of the raids.