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FLOC sues the U.S. Department of Labor for allowing employers to pay lower than prevailing wage

WASHINGTON, DC, August 24, 2018: The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), represented by Public Citizen, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, filed a lawsuit against The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for not enforcing their own regulations.

DOL’s regulations provide that it will only allow a grower to use the H2A program if they are offering the highest of four wages: the prevailing wage, the “Adverse Effect Wage Rate,” the state or federal minimum wage, or a collective bargaining agreement wage. However, the department has been ignoring the prevailing wage requirement and the department regularly grants certifications to employers who are paying less than the prevailing wage.


Baldemar Velasquez

Public Citizen points out that “By allowing agricultural employers to pay less than the prevailing wage, the Department is harming both U.S. workers and foreign workers, as U.S. workers are denied work opportunities at the wages they deserve, and foreign workers are paid less than they should be as a matter of law.”

Baldemar Velasquez, the president of FLOC, laments, “We are continually saddened that we have to resort to the federal courts to enforce existing laws. Historically, farmworkers are ignored when it comes to labor rights and when violations are pervasive. This must end; our Department of Labor needs to step up!”

For decades, FLOC has called on corporations that purchase agricultural products to fix their supply chains and pay growers enough to provide better wages and working conditions for their workers. Since 2007, FLOC has called on Reynolds American and other tobacco manufacturers to improve labor rights in their supply chain by changing the way they buy tobacco.

FLOC recently launched a boycott of Reynolds e-cigarette, VUSE, to pressure the company to do so. “For far too long, tobacco manufacturers have marginalized growers in their supply chain and punished growers that go above and beyond by refusing to take the true cost of doing business into account when they set their prices,” said Velasquez.


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Revised: 08/28/18 20:29:33 -0700.




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