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Bridget Huber is a FairWarning contributor.

3 comments to “Labor Department’s ‘Hot Goods’ Case Charging Underpayment of Farmworkers Goes Up in Smoke”

  1. Roy Lay

    So the farm workers lose again. When I go to Krogers, it costs 3 bucks for 4 ounces of berries, so that’s more than the $5.50 an hour they were guaranteed for the first half pound. If they pick a hundred pounds an hour, that makes their salary a negligible expense. There is something very wrong here. Good article.

  2. Lance

    Would have been nice to have more detail from the workers and the Gov’t. Hhmm got the congress critter and the growers lawyer comments less the facts. Does the Gov’t need better documentation to prove their point in the future? Workers seem to usually be at the disadvantage in these cases. Would the agribusiness folks take advantage if they knew they could get away with it? Do these same growers have a history of labor violations?
    Something to think about for future reporting….

  3. Doug Baldwin

    Nice story again. I like how it is perfectly balanced between two sides, each of whom has a solid foundation for their argument. Plea bargains are a fact of life, and responsibly so, but here the time element on the crop adds a different and crucial element of an extra penalty above and beyond the underlying statutory penalty. So yeah, it is surely wrong to do that. It’s a form of torture in a sense. Confess or we will hurt you above and beyond the normal penalty, whereas normally it is confess, and we will ease the normal penalty some. And yeah, its tough getting those big farmer corporations to stop cheating the migrant workers and they can put up a big long delaying fight. I would say to the union chief, this reminds me of the debate back in the day about Miranda rights and the ability to search pockets and cars and homes of suspected criminals. Just because you think a person is guilty doesn’t mean you can penalize them and violate their rights without due process, that isn’t how we roll as a society. You can’t storm into their house without a warrant, and you can’t take their property without a proper proceeding. This threat of hot goods was surely useful, and help for the enforcers is surely needed, but this ability was surely poorly founded. The big boys and their attorneys were going to test it at some point and they did. Well, back to the drawing board. This interesting article provides thoughtfulness from a number of angles.

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