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Stiffed Workers May Get Some Back Pay from Northern Beef Packers

Northern Beef Packers, Aberdeen’s idle monument to EB-5 failure, may cough up one final set of meager paychecks to the last workers to slaughter cattle on its floor. Former NBP worker Jorge Alvarado and whoever is left in the bankrupt and auctioned-off corporate remnants of NBP have reached a preliminary settlement that would split $180,000 among Alvarado, the lawyers, and more than 250 stiffed workers. Scott Waltman reports that the settlement would work out to less than $400 for each worker.

Recall that, after layoffs in April 2013, NBP’s remaining workforce got no paychecks for the two weeks before declaring bankruptcy in July 2013. Two weeks at then-minimum wage of $7.25 would be $580.

The class action suit reminds us that workers lost more than their hourly wage:

Defendant failed to pay Plaintiff his respective wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, accrued holiday pay, accrued vacation and other time off for 60 days following his termination, and failed to make the pension and 401(k) contributions and provide employee benefits under COBRA for 60 days from and after the dates of his termination [Alvarado v. NBP, filed 2013.09.26, p. 8/parag. 39].

Workers have also reported that the money NBP took out of their checks for health insurance appears not to have purchased any usable coverage.

The logic of any settlement is that hard dollars, even if they fall short of making victims whole, are better than the nothing that could come from rolling the dice on a trial. But this settlement is another example of how the folks running Northern Beef Packers took Aberdeen, Brown County, and all of South Dakota for a ride but will never face full accountability for their swindles.

Scott Waltman reports this settlement comes before federal bankruptcy judge Charles Nail in a hearing in Sioux Falls June 3.

One Comment

  1. mike from iowa 2015-04-17 12:28

    Pretty sure the Joopster will be glad to fill in any wage deficiencies out of his large S.

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