Seaboard Triumph Foods is defending its treatment of employees from the nation of Micronesia, after the country sent a formal letter to the U.S. State Department, calling for the United States to investigate the company. The company said that it follows all employment laws and is working with its local union and officials to address concerns, according to WQAD News.
Micronesia posted the letter on its embassy’s website. The complains states in part: “Dozens of FSM (Federated States of Micronesia) citizens have reported serious and sustained abuse by Seaboard Triumph Food, a pork processing facility located in Sioux City, Iowa. The allegations by these Micronesian citizens include potential human trafficking, labor abuse, and what appear to be other violations of U.S. law.
“In this connection, we have received reports that representatives of Seaboard Triumph Food have been traveling to Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, to recruit Micronesian citizens to work at Seaboard Triumph Food's Iowa facility. After they have been recruited by Seaboard Triumph and arriving in the United States, Micronesian citizens have made allegations regarding abuse by Seafood Triumph Food, including the following:
- Employees allege that the work they are performing is inconsistent with the descriptions that were provided by recruiters, and are inconsistent with the terms of the employment contracts they signed.
- Employees allege that employers at Seafood Triumph Food have harassed Micronesian citizens, both physically and emotionally, including verbal abuse.
- Employees allege that Seafood Triumph Food is issuing false social security numbers for employees.
- Employees allege that Seafood Triumph Food has seized their passports, including withholding passports in order to threaten or punish workers.
- Employees allege that Seafood Triumph Food refuses to provide employees with copies of their employment contracts.”
Seaboard said workers are assigned a temporary tax ID number until their permanent Social Security card arrives up to 90 days after they start work. The company has also denied holding any passports, and spokesman Tori O’Connell said that the company has determined most of the concerns to be untrue.
Source: Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia in Washington D.C., WQAD News