The New York Times: Judge’s Ruling Awards $600,000 to Exploited Workers

Ian Pajer-Rogers |

From The New York Times

by Dan Barry

More than six years after their rescue from virtual servitude, in which they worked for little pay in a turkey processing plant while living in a decrepit Iowa schoolhouse, more than two dozen men with intellectual disabilities will share nearly $600,000 owed to them, after a federal court order issued Thursday in Dallas.

The ruling, by Chief Judge Jorge A. Solis of United States District Court, overrode a confidential arrangement that would have redirected hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to the men, in unpaid court judgments, to the heirs of their former employers, the owners of a Texas-based company called Henry’s Turkey Service.

“The court does not believe it is by accident that the settlement proceeds make their way to the children” of the owners of Henry’s Turkey Service, Judge Solis wrote. “This was an intentional scheme concocted solely to shield a substantial sum of money from the United States’ collection efforts.”

The ruling is belated but welcome news to 28 men who were victimized in one of recent history’s more notorious cases of workplace exploitation. It means roughly $25,000 for each man.

Read the full article from The New York Times.