America’s Catch: Labor allegations way off base
By Steven Hedlund, SeafoodSource editor
02 July, 2012
America’s Catch on Monday responded to alleged labor violations publicized by a workers’ rights organization.
The Mississippi catfish producer is among the four U.S. seafood suppliers cited in a report released by the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) on Friday. The organization is trying to expose labor abuses among Walmart suppliers on the heels of an investigation that found “systematic” labor violations at C.J.’s Seafood in Breaux Bridge, La., which supplies crawfish to the retail giant.
America’s Catch has “always worked to provide a safe working environment” for its employees, said Solon Scott III, the company’s president, in a statement emailed to SeafoodSource.
Scott called the allegations made by NGA “inaccurate” and clarified that the two incidents cited by the group over the company’s 25-year history does not imply that its employees are mistreated.
“One was an OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] citation 13 years ago that involved matters such as the height of a handrail and completion of report forms; and the other was a reference to the a disputed donning and doffing case that was settles after good faith, arm’s length negotiations in order to minimize further costs,” said Scott. “It is unfortunate that the NGA would associate our company with allegations of forced labor, and we certainly deny any implication in that regard.”
The Itta Bena, Miss.-based company is a vertically integrated catfish producer.
Aqua Farms Crawfish of Basile, La., Southern Pride Catfish Co. of Greensboro, Ala., and Trident Seafoods Corp. of Seattle were also cited in the report. Trident has also responded to the allegations.
02 July, 2012