The Labor Department recently released alarming photos showing children as young as 13 working hazardous jobs at a Grand Island, Nebraska, slaughterhouse.
The images were uncovered in an investigation into one of the nation’s largest food sanitation companies, Packers Sanitation Services Inc.
PSSI, which is owned by billionaire Stephen Schwarzman’s private investment banking company, Blackstone Inc., was ordered to pay $1.5 million for violating child labor laws after the Labor Department’s probe discovered it had hired more than 100 children between the ages of 13 and 17 to work hazardous occupations and overnight shifts at several U.S. meat packing plants.
An investigation was launched after teachers at a nearby Nebraska school reported that a student with visible acid burn injuries stated she was working at the slaughterhouse. Teachers also noticed several other students falling asleep in class and believed their exhaustion was due to working overnight at the facility.
“60 Minutes” obtained two shocking photos from the Labor Department that showed children working in the slaughterhouse wearing protective glasses, hard hats, gloves, and water-wicking jackets while holding sanitation equipment and supplies.
Labor Department Investigator Shannon Rebolledo told “60 Minutes” host Scott Pelley that she believed PSSI had likely hired the children to wash bloody floors and razor-sharp processing equipment with scalding hot water and hazardous chemicals.
“It seemed to be known within the community that minors either are or were working overnight shifts,” Rebolledo said.
She noted that while the department confirmed that PSSI employed at least 102 children, the number is “likely much higher” and appears to be a “standard operating procedure” for the company.
“There was no way this was just a mistake, a clerical error, a handful of rogue individuals getting through,” she stated.
Rebolledo’s claim that employing children was standard procedure for the company was “completely false,” PSSI told the New York Post.
PSSI spokesperson Raymond Hernandez told TheBlaze that the company’s “compliance procedures caught over 8,000 employee identification verification issues since 2020, illustrating a commitment to rooting out violations, as well as the significant level of identity fraud facing private employers today.”
A full statement released by PSSI said, in part, “As has been widely reported, the recent record rise in unaccompanied minors from abroad and rising prevalence of identity theft has unfortunately revealed new vulnerabilities in the area of underage labor across hundreds of different American businesses including ours. Regardless of how this issue emerged, however, it is our responsibility to fix the problem.”
PSSI and Blackstone told “60 Minutes” that they had “no idea that they employed children in eight states.”
Following the disturbing findings of the Labor Department’s investigation, PSSI stated that it terminated “every single PSSI manager for the Grand Island plant” and banned the individuals “from working at any other PSSI facility.”
On Wednesday, Blackstone told the New York Post that “it stands unequivocally against child labor violations — which are fully opposed to our values and PSSI’s own hiring policies.”
“PSSI has an absolute zero-tolerance policy against employing anyone under the age of 18,” it added, noting that the company has enforced a new “13-step remediation plan to address this issue.”
Slaughterhouse cleaning company employed kids; Lithium Valley; James Nachtwey | Full Episodesyoutu.be
Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!