Use Of "Hot Goods" Injunctions
Use Of “Hot Goods” Injunctions
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
At a recent meeting with employers and worker advocates in Seattle and Portland the Department of Labor defended invoking a “hot goods” provision of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act last year to suspend shipments of blueberries from Oregon to Washington. Dan Fazio, Director of the Washington Farm Labor Association, explains “hot goods” in relation to the agriculture industry.
FAZIO: The Department of Labor says that if you use teen labor, you know, child labor on your farm, that would make your goods “hot”. Or, if you used illegal workers, workers that you were not paying the minimum wage to, that would make them “hot”.
The DOL has insisted that an Oregon worker could not have picked the amount of blueberries in one hour that was reported on that particular worker’s “bin ticket”, and therefore he must have had help. Fazio explains.
FAZIO: In the Oregon situation the farmer is alleging that the worker was just a super productive worker. The Department of Labor says that one person can only pick 60 pounds of blueberries in an hour and so this guy picked 90 pounds of blueberries in an hour, and they said he must have had someone helping him and the farmer said, no he didn’t.
In that instance Fazio says the DOL told the Oregon farmer that if he agreed to their allegations, it would not pursue a “hot goods” injunction; basically violating the farmer’s right to due process. Fazio said WAFLA has requested the DOL to provide copies of its policies and procedures and discuss them openly, but as yet have had no response. WAFLA will conduct a webinar on the issue May 7th.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network.