PSSI replaces CEO following child labor violations

Tim Mulhere will become the CEO of food sanitation company, Packers Sanitation Services Inc. LTD (PSSI), effective April 24. Mulhere replaces the company’s current CEO, Dan Taft, who retires just months after a Labor Department investigation revealed “oppressive child labor” violations.

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Tim Mulhere will become the CEO of food sanitation company, Packers Sanitation Services Inc. LTD (PSSI), effective April 24. Mulhere replaces the company’s current CEO, Dan Taft, who retires just months after a Labor Department investigation revealed â€śoppressive child labor” violations.

“I am pleased to take on this new position as CEO of PSSI. The company and its devoted employees play a mission-critical role together with its valued customers protecting the health and safety of our nation’s food supply chain. Our focus as a team moving forward will be on continuing to invest in the highest standards possible for safety, compliance, and world-class service,” Mulhere said.

He previously served as the president of Ecolab’s Global Institutional and Specialty Group.

New child labor charitable fund

PSSI also announced the launch of a charitable fund dedicated to “enhancing the well-being of children in the communities we serve and helping reduce the prevalence of the rising problem of unauthorized underage workers amid record levels of unaccompanied minors entering the United States,” according to a press release.

The charity, which has an initial $10 million commitment, will identify and fund legal aid, education, poverty reduction and health services dedicated to preventing illegal child labor.

Child labor violations

According to the November 2022 complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for Nebraska in Lincoln, at least 31 children – ages 13 to 17 years of age – employed by PSSI worked in hazardous occupations, including cleaning dangerous powered equipment during overnight shifts. In addition, several minors – including a 13-year-old – suffered from caustic chemical burns and other injuries.

The agency also claimed that PSSI interfered with the investigation through the intimidation of minor workers and by deleting and manipulating employment files.

In February 2023, PSSI was fined $1.5 million in civil money penalties after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division revealed that PSSI illegally employed more than 102 children. The amount, which worked out to $15,138 for each minor-aged employee, was the maximum civil money penalty allowed by law.

“These violations were entirely contrary to our values, shocking to our company, and completely unacceptable,” PSSI wrote on their website on April 5. â€śRegardless of the reason they occurred, however, it is our responsibility to fix the problem.”

PSSI served as a food safety sanitation contractor at JBS USA plants in Grand Island, Nebraska and Worthington, Minnesota, and at Turkey Valley Farms in Marshall, Minnesota. 

According to the WATTPoultry.com Top Companies Database, JBS is the world’s largest protein supplier and the second largest food company. It also ranks first globally as a poultry producer, having slaughtered 4.4 billion broilers during the past year.

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