No stranger

to accusations about awful working conditions, retail behemoth Wal-Mart has suspended its seafood supplier C.J.'s Seafood. According to the NY Times, the suspension occurred "as an advocacy group for foreign workers pressed the retailer to improve working conditions there and at a dozen other suppliers cited for hundreds of federal labor violations." The seafood from C.J.'s supplies Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

How bad was it at C.J.'s, which is based in Louisiana? The Times reports, "Several immigrant workers said they had been forced to work 16 to 24 hours consecutively and had even been locked into the plant. Guest workers said they sometimes labored more than 80 hours a week, had been threatened with beatings to press them to work faster and had been warned that their families in Mexico would be hurt if they complained to government agencies." Here's a video of the workers describing what happened:

And here's the Guest Worker Alliance's 37-page report about abuses, including, "Some guest workers also testified that they are required to perform, from time-to-time, a variety of duties for the company in addition to their work shifts, including both company work unrelated to seafood processing, such as welding, and personal services for company managers, such as cleaning managers’ automobiles and babysitting their children (the top company management lives on the company premises)."

Scott Nova of the Worker Rights Consortium, which investigated C.J.'s, told the Times, "It’s one of the worst workplaces we ever encountered anywhere. The extreme lengths of the shifts people were required to work, the employer’s brazenness in violating wage laws, the extent of the psychological abuse the workers faced and the threats of violence against their families — that combination made it one of the most egregious workplaces we’ve examined, whether here or overseas."