Sad, Unsurprising News of the Week: Homestead Farms Screwing Bean Pickers

Not content to pay their employees minimum wage, ten Homestead farms and contractors have been screwing their bean pickers -- actual job description, not an ethnic slur -- out of even that measly pay to the tune of nearly $700,000.

As if working under the blistering sun all day in a foreign land wasn't shitty enough...

The U.S. Labor Department has slapped the businesses with a total of roughly $800,000 in fines and back wages for breaking the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and field sanitation standards -- collectively known to Republicans as "red tape."

According to the DOL, major violators include: FT&T Bean Line, A&J Farms, JNJ Growers, T-N-T Farms and Homestead Organic Farms, as well as farm labor contractors Juan Luna, Maria Sanchez, Elvira Cepeda, Joseph Fisteac, and L&J Farm Picking.

DOL spokesman Michael Wald said the operation was part of a larger initiative to enforce labor laws in the southeastern region of the US, where seasonal, migrant, and often undocumented workers are vulnerable to abuse by their short-term employers.

"Six hundred plus thousand dollars is a lot of money to these people," he said. "It should be zero."

The DOL also uncovered a case of at least one minor working in the fields, but Wald couldn't comment further on the ongoing investigation.

But hey, if the news is unpleasant, just vote for Ron Paul. Who needs the Department of Labor anyways?

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