Government Sues Poultry Producer Over Back Wages

DALLAS (AP) - The U.S. Labor Department is suing poultry processor Pilgrim's Pride for 3 million dollars in back wages.

The federal officials said today the money is owed to more than 500 current and former workers of the nation's largest poultry producer.

According to the lawsuit filed in a federal court in Dallas, officials say Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride failed to pay overtime wages for the time workers spent putting on and taking off protective clothing.

They also say the processor hadn't kept accurate overtime records since August 2005.

A Pilgrim's Pride spokesman hasn't returned a call for comment.

The company operates 34 plants around the country, including north Alabama, and sells chicken and turkey under its own name and other brands including Pierce and Country Pride.

The company is controlled by the family of 78-year-old former chairman and chief executive "Bo" Pilgrim.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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