More Developments Regarding "Gang Time" Violations in the Meatpacking Industry

As we told you in our earlier article, Wage Lawsuit Filed Against Creekstone Farms, in April of last year, our Kansas City Overtime Law Firm filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court on behalf of workers Paz Sanchez and Elvis Posadas against Creekstone Farms Premium for unpaid wages and overtime.

Our lawsuit received a fair bit of national press attention at the time, as has a subsequent suit recently covered by The Associated Press. In an article that appeared in the Syracuse Post-Standard, the author described a new suit by our firm against a slaughterhouse operated by the National Beef Packing Co. for unpaid wages and overtime. A suit has been filed in federal court against the Kansas meat-processing company's Liberal plant. The suit involves a class action representing some 2,000 workers who were wrongfully denied money to which they were entitled.

The issue, much the same as the previous Creekstone case, involves a practice that is all too common in the meat-packing industry, so-called "gang time," which pays workers only for the time that the production line is actually running. This cheats workers out of the significant time they must spend at the beginning and end of each shift, day in, day out, putting on and taking off protective gear. Though it may not seem like much, the monotonous task amounts to significant time lost for people that truly need the money.

The filings before the U.S. District Court in Kansas request certification of class-action status. Our firm sought to make this case a class action to best represent the interest of the thousands of employees at the Liberal plant. As in the Creekstone case, plaintiffs here are "similarly situated" meaning that they "...were together the victims of a single decision, policy, or plan." Bishop vs. Heartland Services, Inc., 242 F.R.D. 612, 614. Employees Valente Sandoval Barbosa and Carolina Gaytan were designated as representatives of the class, a group defined as all hourly meat-processing workers at the plant.

Our suit alleges that employees of the Liberal plant were systematically underpaid for their time. This includes the time it takes them to put on and take off their required protective gear during unpaid meal breaks, the time spent walking to and from production lines, waiting in line to use equipment and time spent waiting to clean and service equipment. We also intend to show that workers were not paid for time spent waiting while the production line was not running.

Our own Mark Kistler, said that the practice is often used by employers in the meatpacking industry saying that he is "well aware violations of the law in this industry are pervasive." Kistler added, "Unless and until meat processing employers stop breaking the law, I will be more than happy to sue them."

National Beef, the defendant in the new case, as well as the American Meat Institute, have not yet released any comment on the suit.


Kansas workers sue meat-packing plant over wages, by The Associated Press, published at

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Slaughterhouses Keep Churning Out Meat, but Workers are Often Injured in the Process