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farmworker wage theft
Posted: September 14 2012
In the latest report by the Food & Environment Reporting Network, “As Common as Dirt,” produced in collaboration with The American Prospect magazine, reporter Tracie McMillan investigates how farm labor contracting – a ubiquitous, but relatively unknown, practice – often blatantly disregards labor laws governing wages, safety and health. McMillan reports that it could be the most insidious source of abuse faced by farmworkers.
McMillan, the author of The New York Times bestselling book, The American Way of Eating, spent several months on this investigative report, and tells the story of 75-year-old Ignacio Villalobos, a California farmworker since childhood, who brought suit earlier this year against his former employer for routinely altering payment documents to undercount hours worked and for other alleged abuses. As she follows Villalobos, readers learn how, in the fields of California, wage theft is how agribusiness is done.