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 Michigan Migrant Legal Aid June 2016

Today:  Governor Snyder Abolishes Wage Deviation Board in support of Minimum Wage for Farmworkers    
     This morning, June 8, 2016, Lansing, MI, Governor Snyder signed Executive Order 2016-13  to abolish the Wage Deviation Board.  The Order serves to clarify the right to minimum wage for farmworkers, including those who work by the piece rate. "This is an important first step in returning the state's minimum wage protections to the status quo that existed before the 2014 minimum wage law was passed,"  said Teresa Hendricks, Director of Migrant Legal Aid.    "We appreciate the leadership of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights' Director, Dr. Agustin Arbulu  , whose diplomacy advanced our cause.

Migrant Legal Aid files Federal Class Action Lawsuit against Blueberry Grower
     June 3, 2016, attorneys for Migrant Legal Aid, and Willenson Law, a Chicago based law firm, filed the class action suit on behalf of an estimated 140 blueberry workers who allege they were being systemically underpaid, lacking access to proper field sanitation facilities, and living in overcrowed housing conditions. 

 "Migrant farmworkers work long hours, performing back-breaking labor in extreme conditions," said Teresa Hendricks,  Plaintiffs' lawyer.  "Wage theft is a serious, life-altering adversity for workers already living below the federal poverty line.  They should be treated humanely and fairly for their sacrifice."      

Marni Willenson, a class action attorney and former Litigation Coordinator for Farmworker Jusrtice, agreed, adding, "Few of us have an appreciation for the sacrifices farmworkers make so we can enjoy produce, such as the blueberries grown in southwestern Michigan." Ms. Hendricks and Ms. Willenson have litigated dozens of federal actions, including class, complex and commercial actions.   
MLA Investigating Cases that Involve:
o             Farmworkers displaced by H-2A workers
o             Housing discrimination against undocumented family                    members
o             Managers taking  bribes before offering jobs

Please contact MLA if you have any questions or information on these scenarios.  
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Hart Produce Co. Inc. has met its obligations and is now free to operate in the produce industry
A $47 million computer system that was put into place after 400 people were laid off in 2012 has been mistakenly charging thousands of people with fraud.
Employers of these "guest workers" have to meet certain basic standards, like provide transportation to and from the border, sometimes housing. They must pay fair wages and provide decent working conditions. But that doesn't always happen.
Local and federal authorities are investigating the death of a Haitian farmworker who died after complaining of heat exhaustion during a two-hour bus ride back to Immokalee from the tomato fields.
Washington's ahead of the ball game when it comes to new federal regulations for pesticides.
MLA is dedicated to defending and preserving farmworker jobs, dignity, health, income, and legal rights.  
Teresa Hendricks
Migrant Legal Aid
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