Walker’s chicken firm tied to benefits from unpaid labor.
In response to a lawsuit by the National Chicken Council and its workers that claimed wages are too low and chicken workers are owed unpaid wages, Arkansas attorney General Dustin McDaniel filed a complaint asking for an investigation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission into a firm that supplies Arkansas chicken restaurants with its poultry workers. The AG’s office argues that the Arkansas Chicken Processing Corporation needs to stop paying its workers and instead pay its employees.
Walker’s Chicken is a chain restaurant specializing in Southern cooking. Walker’s sells more than 400 units in Arkansas and more than 800 elsewhere in the country. The company produces chickens for the wholesale chain Hormel. The products include meatballs, breakfast and lunch dishes, chicken tenders and chicken sandwiches, and other chicken products.
In June 2015, Walker’s workers won back $1.7 million and got the chance to receive full pay for wages they did not receive. The court case was initially dismissed, but was reinstated by a higher court and resulted in a settlement with the company. It was originally decided by a court in June 2013.
The National Chicken Council sued at the time under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The suit was filed in August 2013.
The National Chicken Council argued in its lawsuit that it had hired Walker’s employees only because the company had paid for their uniforms and transportation. The council argued that it had a duty to pay the employees for their time, which if unpaid, would result in a violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. It asserted that Walker’s had only a duty to pay workers and should have paid them.
The National Chicken Council’s suit resulted in an agreement with Walker’s on June 27, 2015 that gave the council the money it was owed for back wages and gave WAC $10 million in funds to help the company meet its tax obligations. The National