Labor Violations at California Winery
According to a Februrary 24, 2015 release by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), an Orlando-based labor contractor will pay $163,227 for violations of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The contractor, Manuel Quezada, provides labor crews to Roederer Estate, a 33-year old winery located about 125 miles north of San Francisco. All told, 60 migrant workers will receive $99,953 in back wages under the MSPA, and $63,274 in wages and damages under the FLSA.
MSPA and FLSA
According to DOL reports, Quezada has provided labor crews to Roederer Estate for the last ten years for grape harvesting, pruning and nut harvesting around the northern California area.
Quezada was cited for violations that occurred at the winery during August and September of 2014. Specifically, the DOL found that Quezeda failed to pay workers on a biweekly or semi-monthly basis and failed to inform them of their potential employment conditions. Further, the contractors hadn't been paid in three weeks and were never given proper wage statements. Quezada was also cited for violating the minimum wage requirements of the FLSA.
Susana Blanco, the director of the DOL's Wage and Hour Division in San Francisco, said the case struck a “fair balance” between addressing Quezada's infractions and Roederer Estate's promise to be more vigilant about labor abuses in the future. “The workers will now get the money they rightfully earned for some very physical, tough work,” Blanco said in a statement. “The agreement we reached will also help workers be better informed of their basic labor rights.” Roederer Estate agreed to sign a beefed-up compliance agreement that mandates “stringent reviews” of its labor contractor's practices, according to DOL.
This DOL release comes on the heels of an announcement that a former McDonald's franchisee in Pennsylvania has agreed to pay $206,000 in back wages and damages. The investigation by the DOL found that 291 employees of McDonald's locations throughout Pennsylvania worked for a franchisor who violated minimum wage and overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The affected employees include 178 foreign student workers hired under the U.S. State Department's J-1 visa program.
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