They were accused of conspiring to fix and depress poultry workers’ pay.
The settlement has cleared the way for a merger of Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms, then the purchase of the merged business by partners Cargill and Continental Grain.
"The Court finds that the proposed settlements … have been negotiated at arm’s length and are sufficiently fair, reasonable, and adequate," U.S. District Judge Stephanie Gallagher wrote in the order.
The settlement agreements include all people employed by the three processors, their subsidiaries or related entities at poultry processing plants, hatcheries, feed mills or poultry complexes in the U.S. from Jan. 1, 2000, until July 20, 2021, the order states.
The companies walk away without admitting to doing anything wrong.