At first, others didn’t play ball. interview skills assessmentBut the next year, the plaintiffs said, the industry began to take a more coordinated tack, with a joint effort to cut supply across the board. “We see an uncanny amount of coordination and communication between supposed competitors,” Bruckner argued. As part of so-called capacity discipline, producers allegedly began announcing their plans to cut back, prodding competitors to do the same. In January 2008 earnings calls, just a few days after poultry executives attended the International Poultry Expo in Atlanta, Tyson Chief Executive Officer Dick Bond, Pilgrim’s Chief Financial Officer Rick Codgill, and Sanderson Farms CEO Joe Sanderson each alluded to a major industrywide shift, the plaintiffs said. Bond referred to raising prices, Codgill explained that Pilgrim’s alone couldn’t handle needed supply reductions, and Sanderson said cuts were “probable.” Within months, the cuts were under way: Greeley, Colorado-based Pilgrim’s Pride started closing plants. Instead of jumping in to fill the supply gap, rivals followed suit, according to the distributors. From April 3 to April 11, multiple companies made announcements about scaling back: Fieldale Farms, Simmons Foods, Cagle’s, Wayne Farms, OK Foods, and Koch Foods all announced reductions ranging from 2 percent to 8 percent, the complaint stated. Our siteOn April 14, Pilgrim’s Pride said more were coming. The cuts-and calls for more-continued at a steady pace, and prices began to rise in mid- to late 2008, hitting record highs through late 2009. “It makes sense to cut back production if, and only if, your competitors cut back, too,” said Peter Carstensen, a former antitrust lawyer for the Department of Justice and a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School.
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