GREELEY, COLO. — Members from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 464A in Greeley, Colo., announced they are suing Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., saying the ongoing alleged price-fixing case affected the pension funds of workers.
The complaint was filed in the US District Court of Colorado. The union alleges that Jayson Penn, president and chief executive officer of Pilgrim’s, promoted a positive outlook on stock analysis and the broader market between February 2017 and June 2020.
UFCW’s complaint said that the news of the indictments caused a 12.4% drop in the company’s stock, which the union said hurt the financial positions of its retired members pension fund.
“Defendants had both the motive and opportunity to commit fraud,” the complaint said. “They also had actual knowledge of the misleading nature of the statements they made, or acted in reckless disregard of the true information known to them at the time. In so doing, defendants participated in a scheme to defraud and committed acts, practices, and participated in a course of business that operated as a fraud or deceit on purchasers of Pilgrim’s Pride common stock during the Class Period.”
Pilgrim’s Pride did not respond to a request to comment on July 8.
Penn is currently on a leave of absence following his federal indictment on his alleged role in the conspiracy to fix prices for broiler chickens. Three other poultry industry executives were also indicted.
The indictment states the four executives conspired to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens across the United States from at least as early as 2012 until at least early 2017.
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. is a unit of São Paulo, Brazil-based JBS SA.