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 MLA Files Class Action Suit for  H-A  workers
Migrant Legal Aid and private counsel have filed a class action lawsuit this month on behalf of Mexican guest workers against Manzana, LLC and its owner, Lawrence Williams. The lawsuit focuses on unpaid wages for workers who claim they were routinely paid for fewer hours than they actually worked. The workers were brought to the United States under the H2A program that allows farmers to recruit foreign workers when they certify they cannot find enough domestic workers for their jobs. Migrant Legal Aid estimates the size of the class to be at least 230 workers. The complaint alleges that the farmworkers were told that they would work 75 hours a week, but would only be paid for 55. Because this case alleges fraud in foreign labor contracting, the farmworkers are bringing their claims under the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO act) in addition to their claims for breach of contract.                 Read more 

MLA's Class Certification Win Now Published in Legal Reporters 

The U.S. District Court, Western Michigan Class Certification opinion is published and searchable by attorneys using Lexis and Westlaw databases ( 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43210 (W.D. Mich. Mar. 13, 2018)
The opinion concluded that certification was appropriate for a class comprising 
migrant and seasonal agricultural workers employed at Blue Star Farms to harvest blueberries in  2011, 2012, or 2013. Read opinion here

If you know anyone who picked blueberries for Blue Star Farms in Allegan or Van Buren counties in 2011, 2012, or 2013,  they may  call MLA (616) 454-5055 to learn more.

House Farm Bill Increases Pesticide Risks to Children, Farmworkers
Tuesday May 8, 2018 The House farm bill includes several proposals that would roll back key pesticide protections, putting children, farmworkers, communities and even endangered species at risk.

Pesticides pose serious health risks, particularly to children. For example, chlorpyrifos is a potent neurotoxin that harms children's brain development. Other pesticides have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues like lower sperm counts, environmental harms, and acute health effects like nausea, dizziness and vomiting. Some pesticides, such as atrazine, which is linked to reproductive harm, routinely contaminate drinking water systems.  

Because federal laws fall short of protecting Americans from the potential hazards of pesticides, some states and local governments have stepped in to protect their communities by enacting their own restrictions. This map, created by our colleagues at Beyond Pesticides, shows the number and diversity of communities that have taken action.  Read more

  MLA Featured on El Vocero MI Television 
Dr. Ramon Peralta, Teresa Hendricks, and Molly Spaak of MLA discuss migrant labor and  immigration fears among families in Michigan
Illegal Immigration Does Not Increase Violent Crime, 4 Studies Show 
person working hard in the tulip fields at harvest
The Trump administration regularly says that undocumented immigrants are predatory and threaten public safety. Now, four academic studies show illegal immigration does not increase the prevalence of violent crime or drug and alcohol problems.                                                    Read more
Fruit Co. Farm Workers Seek Initial OK For $2.5M Wage Deal
May 7, 2018, 7:33 PM EDT) -- A proposed class of seasonal and migrant fruit pickers asked a Washington federal judge Friday to approve a $2.5 million settlement with an orchard company, saying it believes the agreement to be the largest wage-and-hour settlement for farm workers ever in the state.

The workers, who pick cherries and apples for Auvil Fruit Co., said in their motion for preliminary approval that the company agreed to pay 4.5 percent of all piece-rate earnings for each worker moving forward to account for nonproductive work time, change its ... Read more

Court: Pay piece-rate workers for 'down time'
May 10, 2018 OLYMPIA - The Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday that piece-rate farmworkers in the state must be paid separately for tasks outside of piece-rate picking work.Time spent performing activities outside the scope of piece-rate picking work must be compensated on a separate hourly basis    .Read more
House Fire Kills Two Migrant Farmworkers at SW Michigan Dairy

MENDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Police say two victims of a fire at an old farmhouse in southwestern Michigan were migrant farm workers.

St. Joseph County Undersheriff Mark Lillywhite says the cause might never be known because of extensive damage to the house in Mendon Township. The home was owned by an area dairy farm.             Read more

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