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California's Union-Sponsored War on Farmers

September 3, 2013
ByALLYSIA FINLEY an editorial writer for the Journal
A version of this article appeared in The Wall Street Journal

'At what point do you look at this picture and ask, 'Why are you fighting anymore?'" muses Dan Gerawan, whose third-generation family farm in Fresno, Calif., has been under assault by California's labor-regulatory complex.

Within days a state mediator could impose an unwieldy labor contract that may force him out of business. However, the ultimate victims will be his farm workers.

Read more: CA Union Sponsored War on Farmers

Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed to 2015

Late on July 2, the Obama Administration announced a one year delay on the mandate for so-called applicable large employers (employers employing 50 or more employees). This mandate was originally to take effect on January 1, 2015.

Read more: Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed

Report Reveals Record-breaking Results for Labor Law Enforcement in California

In a report released in May 2013, Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su announced that labor law enforcement under Governor Brown in the first two years of his Administration resulted in more minimum and overtime wages found owing to California workers and more monetary penalties for illegal business practices than in any previous year in the past decade. In addition, the Labor Commissioner's improved targeting has protected law-abiding businesses from indiscriminate investigations. This effort reflects the Brown Administration’s commitment to protecting California’s workers through the enforcement of laws targeting the state’s underground economy. 

Read more: Labor Commissioner Breaks Enforcement Records

Spanish Human Trafficking Poster Available

Beginning April 1, 2013 certain California employers and businesses, including farm labor contractors, must post a recently released notice developed the State of California Department of Justice (DOJ). (For a complete list of covered employers see California Civil Code §52.6 below)

Read more: Human Trafficing Poster Available

2013 Form W-4 Available

We have received several calls to the FELS Sacramento office asking about "draft" 2013 W-4 forms found until recently on the Internal Revenue Service's website.  "Draft" forms published to IRS' website are not to be used.  

Read more: IRS Form W-4 Updated

Bitterness continues after UFW's loss at Corralitos Farms

By Donna Jones
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Posted:   10/04/2012 06:05:19 PM PDT

WATSONVILLE -- Workers at Corralitos Farms are denying union charges of unfair labor practices by management during a recent election.

Read more: Bitterness Continues At UFW's

Commentary: Obama Hits a Foul by
 
Honoring Cesar Chavez 

Ruben Navarrette, CNN 

"...Chavez has significance as a historical figure. It is because of the UFW that farmworkers now have clean water and toilets in the fields, collective bargaining, lunch breaks and other legal protections. But Chavez was never a leader for all Latinos....Last, most Latinos disapprove of the president's heavy-handed immigration policies and record number of deportations....Chavez earned many titles in his life, but "champion of immigrants" was not one of them. He was primarily a labor leader who was concerned about illegal immigrants undercutting union members, either by accepting lower wages or crossing picket lines....According to many historical accounts, Chavez ordered union members to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service and report illegal immigrants who were working in the fields so that they could be deported."

More....

Cesar Chavez, flawed hero of the fields

Los Angeles Times: Opinion
By Matt Garcia
September 25, 2012
LA Times OpinionCesar Chavez died in 1993, but the Mexican American labor leader's prominence continues to grow.  But they have obscured another part of his legacy, one of miscalculation and failure. Read the full opinion article at: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-garcia-cesar-chavez-20120925,0,112684.story

8 Questions an Employer Should Ask Before Taking an Adverse Employment Action

September 11, 2012

As seen in the West Virginia Chamber’s Human Resources Journal

A wrongful discharge suit can be very costly to your company. These suits involve back pay; reinstatement or front pay until retirement; damages for humiliation and embarrassment; attorney fees; and in some situations, punitive damages. It’s not uncommon to hear of jury verdicts far exceeding $1 million for an individual plaintiff. Attorney fees payable to plaintiff’s counsel can often be assessed, which is on top of the verdict and can easily cost $300,000 to $500,000. Such cases not only expose the company to large monetary risk, they can be very disruptive to both production and morale. 

Read more: 8 Questions Employers Should Ask

USDOL Using "Hot Goods" as a Child Labor Enforcement Tactic

The U.S. Department of Labor has been using the Fair Labor Standards Act's "hot goods" provision for enforcement purposes. "Hot goods" allows the Department to confiscate items produced in violation of the requirements of the FLSA. In particular, DOL has been using "hot goods" for enforcement against alleged child labor violations.  While "hot goods" might make sense to use as leverage with manufacturers of inanimate objects, use against farmers and their perishable commodities can threaten the economic viability of a farming operation.  Here's a report on DOL's use of "hot goods" in Oregon and other places.

FELS Can Help:

Since DOL seems to taking a particular interest in child labor enforcement in agriculture, this might be an opportune time to review your compliance procedures.  FELS Newsletter subscribers can find child labor compliance resources at this link.

If you have questions or comments, please contact us at FELS:  1-800-753-9073 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.