Labor Contractor Debarred Following MSPA Violations

November 24, 2015, 11:04 AM HST (Updated November 24, 2015, 11:06 AM)
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An unregistered farm labor contractor on the Big Island has been issued a seven-year debarment following violations again the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

In 2011, Tomasa Rincon-Ibarra, operating under Tomasita Farm Service, recruited and employed seasonal and migrant workers to pick coffee in Holualoa. Rincon-Ibarra failed to register as a farm labor contractor within the United State Department of Labor and failed to meet various protections under MSPA. These failures to comply involved paying at least minimum wage, providing workers with wage settlements, and insuring vehicles used to transport workers to and from the job site.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai’i consented on judgment that debars Rincon-Ibarra for seven years from registering as a farm labor contractor or engaging in any farm labor contractor activities. The debarment includes recruiting, soliciting, hiring, employing, furnishing, or transporting any migrant or seasonal agricultural worker.

“There are serious consequences for employers engaged in unregistered farm labor contracting activities that undermine basic and fundamental worker rights,” said Terence Trotter, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s district office in Honolulu. “This unprecedented judgement puts all Hawai’i agricultural growers on notice that they cannot use the services of unregistered farm labor contractors and that they should always ask a farm labor contractor for its unexpired ‘USDOL Registration card’ before entering into agreements to provide and furnish workers.”

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Under the MSPA, migrants and seasonal agricultural workers are protected by establishing employment standards related to wages, housing, transportation, disclosures, and record keeping. Part of the MSPA’s requirements are that labor contractors register with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Tomasita Farm Service was previously in trouble for labor violations. A 2013 enforcement initiative conducted by the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found several Big Island coffee growers and producers in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the MSPA.

To learn more about federal wage laws or to file a complaint, call 866-4US-WAGE or visit the U.S. Department of Labor website.

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