5 H-2A Workers’ Claims Settled for $10,000

The Farmworker Rights Division of Georgia Legal Services filed a federal lawsuit on December 23, 2014, Ajiatas-Solval v. Cisco Produce, Inc., U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Civ. Act. No. 1:14-cv-197. We represented 5 former H-2A workers who alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, against David Francisco-Baltazar, a former labor contractor and his corporate entity, Cisco Produce, Inc.  The suit alleged a number of threats, recruitment, and wage violations meant to scare the workers into acceptance of substandard wages and working conditions. After being served, the Defendant filed for bankruptcy, triggering an automatic stay of the suit, but the Court subsequently lifted the stay.

In the Fall of 2015, claims of contract violations against a blueberry grower and two corporate entities that allegedly participated in procuring the workers were amended into the complaint. Jamestown Blueberries, Inc., Van-Adams Blueberry Corp., and Jerry Vanerwegen of Homerville, GA settled the workers’ claims for $10,000. The Court granted a joint petition for dismissal of the remaining claims and counterclaims on July 19, 2016.

Swift Straw II, LLC Settles Pre-Litigation with Guatemalan Workers

We recently represented 11 Guatemalan H-2B forestry workers who raked and baled pine straw near Moultrie, GA for Atlanta area businessman Matthew Lowe and his company Swift Straw II LLC, a “full service vertically integrated pine straw company” operating across the Southeast.  The workers retained us to vindicate their rights for violations of federal laws that protect agricultural workers, including minimum wage violations and poor housing conditions.  We prepared a federal lawsuit on behalf of the workers, but eventually reached a pre-litigation settlement with Mr. Lowe and his company, recovering more than $21,000 in unpaid wages and other damages.

Recientemente representamos a 11 guatemaltecos que vinieron a EE.UU. con visa H -2B como trabajadores forestales que trabajaron en pino cerca de Moultrie, GA para Matthew Lowe, un empresario de Atlanta, y su compañía Swift Straw II, LLC, que opera en todo el sureste. Los trabajadores contrataron a Servicios Legales para vindicar sus derechos por violaciones de las leyes federales que protegen a los trabajadores agrícolas, incluso violaciones de salario mínimo y las malas condiciones de vivienda. Preparamos una demanda federal en nombre de los trabajadores, pero al final llegamos a un acuerdo antes de ir a la corte con el Sr. Lowe y su compañía, recuperando más de $21.000 por salarios no pagados y otros daños.

Hendrix Produce, Inc. To Pay Over $100,000 to Settle Lawsuit Brought by Farmworkers

One of the biggest Vidalia onion farms in Georgia agreed to pay more than $100,000 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by farm workers. The settlement was the subject of an article published in Atlanta’s biggest newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Read the article in the AJC here.

In the lawsuit, 30 workers alleged that Hendrix Produce, Inc. and farm labor contractor Yesenia Merino paid them well below the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour from 2009 to 2012. Last week, a federal judge approved the settlement. As part of the settlement, the workers will receive more than $60,000 in back wages and job-related reimbursements. One of the workers, Antonio Hernandez-Hernandez, said: “We fought for our rights, and I am glad that justice was done.”

Uno de los principales ranchos de cebollas Vidalia en Georgia acordó pagar más de $100,000 en un acuerdo extrajudicial para poner fin a una demanda civil presentada por trabajadores mexicanos y guatemaltecos contratados por medio de visas H-2A. 

El acuerdo fue sujeto de un artículo publicado en el periódico principal de Atlanta, el Atlanta Journal-Constitution. El enlace está aquí:http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/georgia-farm-to-settle-lawsuit-brought-by-mexican-/nhfyJ/

En la demanda, 30 trabajadores alegaron que el rancho Hendrix Produce, Inc. y su contratista laboral, Yesenia Merino, les pagaron muy por debajo del salario mínimo federal de $7.25 por hora en las temporadas del 2009 al 2012. La semana pasada, un juez federal aprobó el pacto. Como parte del acuerdo, los trabajadores, de México y Guatemala, recibirán más de $60,000 en pagos atrasados y reembolsos relacionados a sus gastos de trabajo. Uno de los trabajadores, Antonio Hernandez-Hernandez, dijo: “Peleamos nuestro derecho, y me alegra que se hizo justicia.”