Thursday, March 9, 2006

Work visa not enough to protect forestry employees in Tennessee, says lawsuit (updated)

The Tennessean reports in this article that a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Mexican workers in Tennessee who held valid work visas but were not paid on time or at all for their full work schedule.

"Laborers brought from Mexico to plant trees in southern Tennessee have filed a class-action lawsuit against their Arkansas-based employer, claiming they weren't paid as promised and that they were forced to work overtime without pay."

"The latest Poverty Law Center suit seeks to become a class-action case for an estimated 1,500 migrant temporary workers that Superior Forestry Service Inc. of Tilly, Ark., has employed over the past six years."

"The suit alleges that the Tilly, Ark., company didn't pay minimum wage, let alone the prevailing wage the Labor Department requires. Workers weren't paid overtime for working more than 40 hours a week, weren't given an accurate accounting of their time and pay and weren't paid in a timely manner, the suit claims."

While they were employed, the Mexican workers held valid visas for low-skilled, non-agricultural work.

According to the Superior Forestry web site, "The average crew is 15 men. Crews plant 30,000 to 50,000 trees a day, covering approximately 100 acres."

update July 9, 2006: The Tennessean reports in this story that the plaintiffs have been denied class action status for now but that the litigation is ongoing.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...