The US Department of Labor has recently revealed a shocking case of child labor violations in a slaughterhouse in Grand Island, Nebraska. According to the department, more than 100 children between the ages of 13 and 17 were illegally employed by Packers Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI), a company that provides cleaning services to meat packing plants across the country.
The department launched an investigation after teachers at a nearby school reported that a student had acid burn injuries from working at the slaughterhouse. They also noticed that several other students were falling asleep in class and suspected that they were working overnight shifts at the facility.
The investigation uncovered alarming photos that showed children working in hazardous positions at the slaughterhouse, wearing protective gear and holding sanitation equipment. The department said that the children were likely exposed to blood, sharp knives, scalding water, and hazardous chemicals while cleaning the floors and equipment.
The department also found out that PSSI was owned by Blackstone Inc., a private investment banking company led by billionaire Stephen Schwarzman. PSSI and Blackstone claimed that they had no idea that they employed children in eight states and blamed the local managers for the violations.
The department ordered PSSI to pay $1.5 million in civil penalties and back wages to the affected workers. It also banned PSSI from hiring minors for hazardous occupations and overnight shifts. The department said that this was one of the worst cases of child labor violations it had ever seen and vowed to protect the rights and safety of young workers.
This case raises serious questions about the ethics and accountability of PSSI and Blackstone, as well as the conditions and regulations of the meat packing industry. It also highlights the need for more awareness and education about child labor laws and the consequences of violating them.