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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: ESA-WH-08-1562-DAL

Date: 

March 25, 2009

Contact: 

Elizabeth Todd

Phone: 

972-850-4710

U.S. Department of Labor obtains consent judgment in legal action against farm labor contractor in New Mexico


COTTON CITY, N.M. -- To resolve litigation stemming from an October 2006 investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced that a consent judgment has been entered into with Manuel Ramirez, a farm labor contractor in Cotton City, for violations of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA).

The consent judgment permanently enjoins Ramirez from engaging in farm labor contracting activity without a certificate of registration from the secretary of labor, and requires full future compliance with all applicable provisions of the MSPA. Ramirez’ certificate of registration had been revoked by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in July 2006 as a result of violations of the MSPA that were disclosed in a previous investigation by the division’s Albuquerque District Office.

“Ramirez has a history of violating the law. In 2006 his registration was revoked as a result of not paying civil money penalties for violations incurred,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “In this case, in addition to operation without a certificate of registration, he failed to keep proper records, provide proper wage statements to workers and provide the workers with safe transportation in properly insured vehicles.”

MSPA provides many protections for migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, and requires all farm labor contractors to register with the Department of Labor before engaging in farm labor contracting activities. In addition, covered employers are required to pay all wages owed when due, to make and keep accurate payroll records, and to transport workers in safe and properly insured vehicles. Additionally, any person who owns or controls housing provided to MSPA-covered workers must ensure that such facilities meet all health and safety requirements.

For more information about MSPA, call the Wage and Hour Division’s Albuquerque District Office at 505-245-2142 or the Labor Department’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243.) Information is also available on the Internet at www.wagehour.dol.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.