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Farms fined for using child laborers

Posted August 10, 2009

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— The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has fined nine farms and 17 farm labor contractors that do business in Bladen and Craven counties for violating federal labor law, including employing children as young as 8 as farm laborers, officials said Monday.

Blueberry Hill Farms, Carter Farms, Morris Bros. Blueberry Farms, Nelson's Blueberry Farm and Thomas Milton Smith were found to have employed underage workers. Two of the 17 farm labor contractors, Macendonio Hernandez and Jesus Moto Serrano, were also cited for child labor violations.

Other employer violations include failure to disclose terms and conditions of employment as required by federal law, record-keeping violations and violations of the federal minimum-wage law. Fines totaling $31,445 were assessed against the 26 employers, and they were ordered to pay $40,010 in back wages owed to 428 farm workers.

"Agricultural employment is particularly dangerous for children, and the rules for their employment must be followed," Richard Blaylock, district director of the Wage and Hour Division in Raleigh, said in a statement.

Under federal law, youths ages 16 and above may work in any farm job at any time, and youths of any age may work at any time in any job on a farm owned or operated by their parents. Youths aged 14 and 15 may work outside school hours in jobs not declared hazardous by Labor Department officials. There are special requirements for employing youths under age 14.

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  • MakoII Aug 12, 2009

    Rev. RB aka Troll Magnet,

    I am very sorry you are having a hard time finding a job. I have many family member in or about to be in that position.

    My suggestions is targeted truth. Don't apply to a farm job saying you have a degree IF you don't have a degree.

    In today's market, especially in highly educated work, you have to tailor your resume specifically to that job, omitting non-related work.

    Create a resume that is for those farm jobs you're willing to work while you seek to get yourself out from under under-employment.

    And seriously, I disagree with you often, but I truly hope you get back on your feet. Americans deserve the dignity of work.

  • TallWillow Aug 12, 2009

    This is getting pretty far afield of the topic, so I'm going to stop for now. If you'd like to continue this on your own blog, I'll be glad to discuss it further. Now, though, since I'm out sick & feeling bad, I'm going to go offline for a while.

  • TallWillow Aug 12, 2009

    "No, it does the statement..." Huh?

    If I understand you, you're saying that most of the people who use EBT or WIC are undocumented. How do you know? Did you ask for their passports or green cards? There are many Spanish-speaking people who are citizens and legal immigrants.

    As to the woman with the Cadillac--are you sure it was hers? Even if it was, how do you know she didn't buy it just before losing her job, but is trying to keep it so she can look for another one?

    I do have to agree that arguing over $0.02 is pretty ridiculous, though.

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM Aug 12, 2009

    That doesn't even qualify as a proper question, much less any kind of proof. Just because you THINK someone is abusing a program when you see them in the store doesn't mean that they are. That goes for anyone, native or immigrant, documented or not.
    TallWillow

    NO it does the statement was there is an abundance of a certain type of people that abuse the system and if you have worked in a grocery store in the last 10 years you can see who mainly uses WIC, EBT etc so it is a quite valid question when put into real world practice, however it still doesnt compare to the lady who came in used EBT, complained that the price was off by .02 (and seeing as how im the one paying for it i didnt care), but then went and hopped in her brand new cadillac

  • TallWillow Aug 12, 2009

    MakoII - "Americans won't do the work"

    RB: "BALONEY!!!... [I]t's not that we don't want to do the work aliens are doing, it's that ... employers won't give us a chance to do a job beneath our qualifications."

    How many farms have you applied at, Rev.? Especially when the crops have to come in now, today or be ruined? What about fast-food places?

    Okay, so the farms question was facetious, but therein lies the rub. Very few, if any, Americans do apply for farm work.

    Even the people who are willing to work on a farm or in fast food, etc. are either unwilling or unable to do so for the low pay that undocumented workers put up with.

    Part of that goes right back to the whole health care issue. Is it sensible or responsible to take a job without insurance that might just barely pay your rent, but put you over-income for governmental assistance with your or your children's medical care? And never mind about other things like child care or school supplies or electricity.

    Do

  • TallWillow Aug 12, 2009

    "Ever worked in a grocery store..."

    That doesn't even qualify as a proper question, much less any kind of proof. Just because you THINK someone is abusing a program when you see them in the store doesn't mean that they are. That goes for anyone, native or immigrant, documented or not.

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM Aug 11, 2009

    These families don't "abuse" WIC, etc., any more than native-born families. (In spite of conservative lies to the contrary, there is NOTHING an undocumented alien can get that a citizen or documented immigrant cannot under the same circumstances. If you say otherwise, prove it.)
    made that impossible for them when they changed the law.
    TallWillow

    Ever worked in a grocery store...

  • Adelinthe Aug 11, 2009

    MakoII - "Americans won't do the work"

    BALONEY!!!

    I got laid off last October.

    Since then, I have sent out over 100 resumes for job postings.

    I have either received no answer or have received the answer that I am over-qualified.

    In desperation, I've put in applications at grocery stores only to hear the same thing.

    So it's not that we don't want to do the work aliens are doing, it's that we're often over-qualified and the employers won't give us a chance to do a job beneath our qualifications.

    God bless.

    RB

  • 5Rs Aug 11, 2009

    I am not, by the way. condoning abusive child-labor activity. But there is a difference between good hard work and abuse.

  • 5Rs Aug 11, 2009

    MakoII, the cliche that "Americans won't do the work" won't fly. If we need to eat, we will do the work, at least that used to be true. I picked apples as a pre-teen, going up on the tree ladders, as did all my friends. I also worked fields. Where are our kids today? Unable to develop a work ethic because of your intrusive government.

    Yes, we have a major problem with our current don't-work-if-you can-get-it-for-free from the government. A good place to start is to remove the crutch of illegal immigrants.

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