MADISON, Maine — Editor's Note: The video above aired in September 2017.
Madison greenhouse tomato grower Backyard Farms, LLC, has been fined $92,000 and paid more than $245,000 in back wages to migrant workers after violating federal labor laws.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) said the company failed to comply with laws regarding wages and working conditions including the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program and the Migrant Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.
In a release Tuesday, the U.S. DOL said Backyard Farms made room for incoming foreign workers by dismissing U.S. workers employed through temporary help agencies as de-leafers, pickers, and packers.
The company also paid workers in corresponding employment lower wages than H-2A workers for the same work and failed to offer employment to U.S. workers who worked in the same job the previous year, instead giving those positions to guest workers, according to a release.
Backyard Farms, LLC also violated the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act by contracting with three temporary help agencies that were not farm labor contractors registered to perform MSPA-covered activities, the DOL said.