The Department of Labor (DOL) announced a settlement agreement this week with G Farms, an agribusiness operation in Maricopa County, Arizona, after finding that the company had subjected H-2A guest workers to "simply inhumane" living conditions. Gonzalez obtained the foreign workers' visas with the help of Le Felco, a Wyoming-based firm.
DOL investigators discovered last year that G Farms owner Santiago Gonzalez had been housing 69 foreign guest workers in overcrowded, unsanitary semi-truck trailers and school buses, where they were subjected to dangerous living conditions, including exposure to the Arizona summer heat without proper ventilation, and dangling gas lines fed through bus windows.
According to Michael King, the farm's attorney, the company owes "a couple thousand dollars, give or take" in violation related fines.
The settlement requires the farm to provide the foreign workers with safer housing conditions in keeping with the H-2A visa application requirements and pay them an hourly wage of $10.95. Additionally, the U.S. District Court of Arizona issued a judgment ordering both Gonzalez and Le Felco to inform H-2A guest workers of their rights and provide them with work contracts in their native language.
For more on this story, see Politico and AZ Central.
Updated: Wed, May 16th 2018 @ 3:10pm EDT