WASHINGTON – Representatives of more than 17,000 workers in 41 Tyson poultry plants agreed to a $32 million dollar settlement of a lawsuit in which plaintiffs sought compensation for time spent putting on and taking off protective gear before and after their shifts. The US District Court in Georgia approved this settlement on Sept. 15.

The lawsuit charged Tyson with violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to a press release from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which was not a party in this case, the settlement will result in payments averaging approximately $1,000 per worker to current and former Tyson workers throughout the country. Current and former Tyson poultry workers at plants in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas were part of the settlement.

Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson told MEATPOULRY.com, “The terms of the parties’ joint settlement agreement prohibit public commentary from the company and the plaintiffs, and each must primarily rely upon the pleadings filed with the court. We can say the action was resolved on a satisfactory basis.

“From a financial standpoint, the company records accruals for matters such as this,” he added. “In this case, the matter is substantially accrued for and this settlement will have no material impact on our Q4 results.”