Nine Farms, 17 Contractors Fined For Labor Violations

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has fined nine farms and 17 farm labor contractors in Bladen and Craven counties, NC, for violating federal labor laws, including employing children as young as eight years old as farm laborers.

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The investigation is part of the agency’s ongoing agricultural initiative aimed at protecting the rights of farmworkers under provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA).

Other violations include failure to disclose terms and conditions of employment as required by MSPA, recordkeeping violations, and violations of federal minimum wage laws. Penalties imposed against the 26 employers total $31,445 in addition to $40,010 in back wages owed to 428 farmworkers.

“Agricultural employers in North Carolina must understand that the Labor Department will vigorously enforce federal labor laws whenever we find that employees are illegally employed,” said Richard Blaylock, district director of the Wage and Hour Division in Raleigh. “Agricultural employment is particularly dangerous for children, and the rules for their employment must be followed.”

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Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

OH NO. Children that are learning to work! NA can’t have that! Good thing mine are long gone so i do not have to contend with this.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

These kind of bad labor practices give all farmers a bad name. Farm labor practices are already seen as shady and abusive. If agriculture is to be taken seriously in this country, farmers have to play by the rules and stop whining. If you don’t like the rules, there are legal means by which to affect change. Please at least pretend that you understand why child labor is bad.

Dan, I can understand why your children are long gone. They probably ran away.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Of course anything can be abused, but I agree with Dan that children for the most part these days have never learned how to work, and many never will. In years past there was not only opportunity, you were required to “pull your weight” however slight that was. Now we refuse to allow children to have any job, or learn any skill till they turn 18. By that time it is often too late. Now that our children are grown, I can tell a real difference in our children that grew up on a farm and those that grew up when we lived in a subdivision… and so can their employers.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I know I may sound redundant but sometimes it requires repetition to get a point across. But all of these laws, rules and regulations just make American producers of any products less and less competitive in the global market. And any producer who ships produce into the USA from countries that do not enforce the same laws, rules and regulaions should have to pay a NON-Compliant tariff or the item should be considered BOOTLEGGED. If these laws, rules and regulations are deemed necessary for American producers to comply with, then they should also be globalized as good for all mankind. Including those 8 year old’s in Mexico or China !

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I understand the Child Labor Laws and I agree with Dave. Children need to learn how to “Get their hands dirty” 8 might be a little young, but at least they were working. I seem to remember reading about a time when the children would milk the cow, harvest a field or some other Agricultural duty before they went to school for the day. Now it takes an atomic bomb just to wake them up so they are not late to the school bus or for mommy or daddy to drive them to school the half mile away that it is. If they want to work, so be it!!

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Vernon hit the nail on the head. US farmers are saddled with rules & regulations that raise production costs. In many cases a product can be imported for much less than it costs to grow that product here. If labor, environmental and food safety issues are truly important, then shouldn’t Americans also require that the same regulations be applied to non-domestic farmers? At the very least impose import tariffs to non-compliant producers as Vernon suggests. We live in an extremely hypocritical society, and it makes me wonder if the real goal isn’t to destroy American farming.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

In Agricultural Child Labor Laws, permissible jobs and hours of work vary by age and by state. See http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/state/agriemp2.htm#asterisk

Agriculture has a parental exemption for the farm owner.

Parental exemption: Minors of any age may be employed by their parents at any time in any occupation on a farm owned or operated by his or her parent(s).

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

One can just imagine how this happened. the kids not wanting to stay at home where it might be unsafe go with mom and/or dad to work. the opportunity to help out the parent and prove that they are growing up presents itself up to the moment the inspector shows up. I started working on the farm at 8 hoeing weeds. Today i can turn a hand at anything. my kids are a different story. Mom wouldn’t let them work in the field and now… well you know the rest of the story.

this country has a long history of teaching kids how to work and the farm was the best place for this to happen.

As for concepts of child sweat shop labor in US Agriculture — pretty unlikely.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

In defense of the farmers who allegedly employed child labor, my experience with Hispanic ag workers is that they take their children out to the fields to work alongside the rest of the family rather than sticking them with a caretaker. The landscaping firm I worked with actually had to patrol job sites and send the relatives of our employees away who showed up on job sites to help out a brother, sister or cousin. It can be difficult explaining to people who have a strong cultural respect for family unity that American laws don’t permit what they consider good parenting practices.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Now we have no real way to teach the kids of education, need to be 18 and not have any experience in real work conditions. If kids were able to see what hard work is about in the fields maybe they would apply themselves a little more in school with a school education with some direction in life. Meanwhile in some other country their kids start a begining of labor and never have the chance to study or choice to work. This needs to change or just close our eyes to this problem

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Big questions–how to share our wealth with those who provide it for us with their sweaty brows and fond dreams of a better life (for their own children); that, while complying with our labor and child-labor and emigration laws.
The questions grow even bigger, when corollary problems emerge for our border States. Riff-raff arrives easily in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California; while the Finest arrive in Wisconsin, New York, Washington and other, more distant States. Not easy, not fair, but, that’s one reality.
I care for those emigrants. My grand dad worked in the mines at nine years of age. Then, he arrived in this country, a young man, chest busting with ambition. He worked hard. His son, my Dad, worked skillfully at trades he learned. My generation went off to college, and I own my corporation. This is what I teach my emigrant employees–how to pursue the dreams that brought them to our land.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Large produce growers believe they have a right to
cheap illegal slave labor while small family farmers do their own work with family members,
relatives, or local labor . Farms can be a dangerous
place for adults as well as children. Most of these
comments reflect an anti government, anti-regulation bias . The government needs to make regulations , laws,and rules to help farm workers
that are from this country and stop the influx of
illegals . I’m sure those who owned slaves in the
pre-American civil war era complained about interference in their labor practices . The US can
do much to help US citizens enter the farm labor workforce if labor, government , and producers get togather and work out the issues . Then taxpayers
would not have to subsidize the huge corporate farmers by providing services . Also they could
review some really stupid regulations that probably
exist. We don’t want children exposed to harmful
pesticides or working long hours in the heat . We don’t want small children around equipment that can
injure them . And we don’t need workers brought in from
other countries when US citizens need work . When
the unemployment rate is 9.5 % and 19% of or workforce is working part time .

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

As the wife of a former fruit grower, I can tell Phil doesn’t have a clue about what goes on in the farming world. What a joke, trying to get U.S. citizens to work in a harvest. Trust me, we tried that 10 years ago or more when we had to let 30,000 bushels of apples go on the ground because we could not get enough migrant workers to harvest the crop. We put ads in the newspapers, went to the local Unemployment Office, etc. and did not get one U.S. citizen who wanted to harvest apples. I think Phil needs to get a job on a farm for a year and just see what kind of hard work it is.
The government is obviously trying to put farmers out of business and it’s working!!! I’ve been predicting a famine in this country for about 25 years now but I didn’t think our generation would see it. I figured our children’s and granchildren’s generations would see it but I’m not so sure, now, that we won’t see it in our lifetime.

With all the government regulations coming out of the State and the Federal governments, one can no longer be a farmer without at least a college degree and a masters would certainly be of more help. The paperwork involved keeps a farmer at a desk most of the day rather than out working in his fields/orchards. The sad thing is that the majority won’t see it coming until it’s too late. Most people say their food comes from a grocery store with no idea or thought as to how it got to that store. America needs to be educated before it’s too late and that famine happens.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

We would like to employee young people in high school but don’t. the get min wages and don’t earn even that. They are on the cell phone or texting every chance they get, they don’t want to climb ladders as they might fall when they answer their cell phones, they bruse apples when they pick them and pick up drops and put them in with good apples, they throw apples at one another and take breaks every 30 min cause the work is so hard, they need constant supervision! We have had alarge nomber of adults apply for seasonal work but don’t want to work for less than $16-20 per hour. They also ask to be paid under the table so they can collect un employment, this elligle and we won’t do it…!! I’ll just have to quit farming and sell to a developer if this keeps up

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Throughout high school, I worked long and hard hours hoeing, moving pipes, hauling/stacking hay, digging out ditches, etc. I wanted it better for my kid and was strict about his schoolwork. His high school job? Fixing/installing/maintaining computers and software. Long hours, but in nice, air-conditioned buildings. I’m still in the hot sun, but he is about to get a college degree in engineering and many opportunities abound. Not ashamed of him a bit!

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I am trying to teach my urbanized daughter that her life isn’t bad and that my asking her to contribute to our house hold would add to the pie.

I agree with what Darren and others have commented and said about the new age child. Parents and communities are raising worthless human beings. What is so bad about teaching them the value of contributing to their home let alone their communities.

I am looking for books, articles and or stories that she can read that will shift her way of looking at her life; stories that would make her happy to contribute.

Please help….send all good information too [email protected]

Thank you!

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

OH NO. Children that are learning to work! NA can’t have that! Good thing mine are long gone so i do not have to contend with this.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

These kind of bad labor practices give all farmers a bad name. Farm labor practices are already seen as shady and abusive. If agriculture is to be taken seriously in this country, farmers have to play by the rules and stop whining. If you don’t like the rules, there are legal means by which to affect change. Please at least pretend that you understand why child labor is bad.

Dan, I can understand why your children are long gone. They probably ran away.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Of course anything can be abused, but I agree with Dan that children for the most part these days have never learned how to work, and many never will. In years past there was not only opportunity, you were required to “pull your weight” however slight that was. Now we refuse to allow children to have any job, or learn any skill till they turn 18. By that time it is often too late. Now that our children are grown, I can tell a real difference in our children that grew up on a farm and those that grew up when we lived in a subdivision… and so can their employers.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I know I may sound redundant but sometimes it requires repetition to get a point across. But all of these laws, rules and regulations just make American producers of any products less and less competitive in the global market. And any producer who ships produce into the USA from countries that do not enforce the same laws, rules and regulaions should have to pay a NON-Compliant tariff or the item should be considered BOOTLEGGED. If these laws, rules and regulations are deemed necessary for American producers to comply with, then they should also be globalized as good for all mankind. Including those 8 year old’s in Mexico or China !

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I understand the Child Labor Laws and I agree with Dave. Children need to learn how to “Get their hands dirty” 8 might be a little young, but at least they were working. I seem to remember reading about a time when the children would milk the cow, harvest a field or some other Agricultural duty before they went to school for the day. Now it takes an atomic bomb just to wake them up so they are not late to the school bus or for mommy or daddy to drive them to school the half mile away that it is. If they want to work, so be it!!

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Vernon hit the nail on the head. US farmers are saddled with rules & regulations that raise production costs. In many cases a product can be imported for much less than it costs to grow that product here. If labor, environmental and food safety issues are truly important, then shouldn’t Americans also require that the same regulations be applied to non-domestic farmers? At the very least impose import tariffs to non-compliant producers as Vernon suggests. We live in an extremely hypocritical society, and it makes me wonder if the real goal isn’t to destroy American farming.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

In Agricultural Child Labor Laws, permissible jobs and hours of work vary by age and by state. See http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/state/agriemp2.htm#asterisk

Agriculture has a parental exemption for the farm owner.

Parental exemption: Minors of any age may be employed by their parents at any time in any occupation on a farm owned or operated by his or her parent(s).

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

One can just imagine how this happened. the kids not wanting to stay at home where it might be unsafe go with mom and/or dad to work. the opportunity to help out the parent and prove that they are growing up presents itself up to the moment the inspector shows up. I started working on the farm at 8 hoeing weeds. Today i can turn a hand at anything. my kids are a different story. Mom wouldn’t let them work in the field and now… well you know the rest of the story.

this country has a long history of teaching kids how to work and the farm was the best place for this to happen.

As for concepts of child sweat shop labor in US Agriculture — pretty unlikely.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

In defense of the farmers who allegedly employed child labor, my experience with Hispanic ag workers is that they take their children out to the fields to work alongside the rest of the family rather than sticking them with a caretaker. The landscaping firm I worked with actually had to patrol job sites and send the relatives of our employees away who showed up on job sites to help out a brother, sister or cousin. It can be difficult explaining to people who have a strong cultural respect for family unity that American laws don’t permit what they consider good parenting practices.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Now we have no real way to teach the kids of education, need to be 18 and not have any experience in real work conditions. If kids were able to see what hard work is about in the fields maybe they would apply themselves a little more in school with a school education with some direction in life. Meanwhile in some other country their kids start a begining of labor and never have the chance to study or choice to work. This needs to change or just close our eyes to this problem

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Big questions–how to share our wealth with those who provide it for us with their sweaty brows and fond dreams of a better life (for their own children); that, while complying with our labor and child-labor and emigration laws.
The questions grow even bigger, when corollary problems emerge for our border States. Riff-raff arrives easily in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California; while the Finest arrive in Wisconsin, New York, Washington and other, more distant States. Not easy, not fair, but, that’s one reality.
I care for those emigrants. My grand dad worked in the mines at nine years of age. Then, he arrived in this country, a young man, chest busting with ambition. He worked hard. His son, my Dad, worked skillfully at trades he learned. My generation went off to college, and I own my corporation. This is what I teach my emigrant employees–how to pursue the dreams that brought them to our land.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Large produce growers believe they have a right to
cheap illegal slave labor while small family farmers do their own work with family members,
relatives, or local labor . Farms can be a dangerous
place for adults as well as children. Most of these
comments reflect an anti government, anti-regulation bias . The government needs to make regulations , laws,and rules to help farm workers
that are from this country and stop the influx of
illegals . I’m sure those who owned slaves in the
pre-American civil war era complained about interference in their labor practices . The US can
do much to help US citizens enter the farm labor workforce if labor, government , and producers get togather and work out the issues . Then taxpayers
would not have to subsidize the huge corporate farmers by providing services . Also they could
review some really stupid regulations that probably
exist. We don’t want children exposed to harmful
pesticides or working long hours in the heat . We don’t want small children around equipment that can
injure them . And we don’t need workers brought in from
other countries when US citizens need work . When
the unemployment rate is 9.5 % and 19% of or workforce is working part time .

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

As the wife of a former fruit grower, I can tell Phil doesn’t have a clue about what goes on in the farming world. What a joke, trying to get U.S. citizens to work in a harvest. Trust me, we tried that 10 years ago or more when we had to let 30,000 bushels of apples go on the ground because we could not get enough migrant workers to harvest the crop. We put ads in the newspapers, went to the local Unemployment Office, etc. and did not get one U.S. citizen who wanted to harvest apples. I think Phil needs to get a job on a farm for a year and just see what kind of hard work it is.
The government is obviously trying to put farmers out of business and it’s working!!! I’ve been predicting a famine in this country for about 25 years now but I didn’t think our generation would see it. I figured our children’s and granchildren’s generations would see it but I’m not so sure, now, that we won’t see it in our lifetime.

With all the government regulations coming out of the State and the Federal governments, one can no longer be a farmer without at least a college degree and a masters would certainly be of more help. The paperwork involved keeps a farmer at a desk most of the day rather than out working in his fields/orchards. The sad thing is that the majority won’t see it coming until it’s too late. Most people say their food comes from a grocery store with no idea or thought as to how it got to that store. America needs to be educated before it’s too late and that famine happens.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

We would like to employee young people in high school but don’t. the get min wages and don’t earn even that. They are on the cell phone or texting every chance they get, they don’t want to climb ladders as they might fall when they answer their cell phones, they bruse apples when they pick them and pick up drops and put them in with good apples, they throw apples at one another and take breaks every 30 min cause the work is so hard, they need constant supervision! We have had alarge nomber of adults apply for seasonal work but don’t want to work for less than $16-20 per hour. They also ask to be paid under the table so they can collect un employment, this elligle and we won’t do it…!! I’ll just have to quit farming and sell to a developer if this keeps up

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Throughout high school, I worked long and hard hours hoeing, moving pipes, hauling/stacking hay, digging out ditches, etc. I wanted it better for my kid and was strict about his schoolwork. His high school job? Fixing/installing/maintaining computers and software. Long hours, but in nice, air-conditioned buildings. I’m still in the hot sun, but he is about to get a college degree in engineering and many opportunities abound. Not ashamed of him a bit!

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I am trying to teach my urbanized daughter that her life isn’t bad and that my asking her to contribute to our house hold would add to the pie.

I agree with what Darren and others have commented and said about the new age child. Parents and communities are raising worthless human beings. What is so bad about teaching them the value of contributing to their home let alone their communities.

I am looking for books, articles and or stories that she can read that will shift her way of looking at her life; stories that would make her happy to contribute.

Please help….send all good information too [email protected]

Thank you!