Florida growers file lawsuit intended to block new federal rule about farmworker wages

Florida farmers and agriculture groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to block a new federal rule about wages for farmworkers. The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Tampa, centers on a minimum wage related to temporary farmworkers coming into the United States under what is known as H-2A visas. The lawsuit contends that a rule change by the U.S. Department of Labor will improperly drive up wages that farmers are forced to pay and conflicts with federal law.

“Either the farms will be able to pass along these costs to consumers, exacerbating historically high inflation at the grocery store, or what is more likely, they will not be able to pass through these costs and will be forced out of business within the coming weeks,” the lawsuit said.

These farms are selling their crops in a highly competitive international market, selling to the same customers as farms in Canada and Mexico, paying farmworkers a fraction [of the wages required in the United States].”

The rule took effect March 30 and stems from a law that is designed to make sure that temporary H-2A workers from other countries don’t lower wages of “similarly employed” workers in the United States, according to the lawsuit.

Source: news.yahoo.com

Photo source: Dreamstime.com

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