El Editor. Lubbock,TX. May 26- June 1, 1988
On May 17, 1988 33 farm workers filed a class action petition with the United States Department of Labor in Dallas seeking the government’s assistance in recovering over $9,000 in wages that is owed them by Jose Medina of Happy, Texas.
The complaint alleges the farm workers were not paid the minimum wage of $3.35 per hour for their labor in July 1986. The farm worker families were recruited by Jose Medina to hoe cotton for J.A. McAnear and other farmers near Clarendon, Texas.
The petition also alleges a number of violations of the federal Agricultural Worker Protection Act that was adopted by Congress to protect farm workers. The alleged violations include the failure to make and keep wage records, failure to post the federal the federal law at the cotton fields, failure to register as a farm labor contractor, and failure to provide decent labor housing.
“The facts of this case are outrageous,” said Stephen C. McIntyre, TRLA staff attorney. “These workers were recruited by an unlicensed crewleader and many of them transported in the back of a pickup to hoe cotton near Clarendon. They were not paid for two weeks and one group was left without money at a farm house outside of Clarendon. Those farm workers ran out of food and had to hunt rabbits to feed themselves,” McIntyre said.
The petition demands a DOL investigation, payment of the wages owed the farm workers, and criminal prosecution of everyone DOL determines is responsible for the violation of the federal laws.