Three Washington Strawberry Farms Busted for Child Labor Violations

strawberry_farmer.jpg
Wikimedia Commons
Strawberries tended by a person of legal working age.
E. coli isn't the only problem plaguing strawberry farms in the Pacific Northwest. Last week three Washington State strawberry farms were fined for employing children as young as six years old to work in their fields.

Because most berry workers in the area are paid by how many berries they pick instead of an hourly wage, many struggle to make minimum wage. Many workers at large berry farms clear around $5 an hour, which leads to workers bringing their children into the fields to increase their yield. Washington's minimum wage is $8.67 an hour.

Kids are routinely picking 100 to 200 pounds of berries a day, work that's done while kneeling and stooping for long periods of time.

George Hoffman Farms, Columbia Fruit LLC, and Berry Good Farms were cited by the U.S. Department of Labor for minimum wage violations. The farm honchos, Marty Peterson, George Hoffman and Lee Nguyen, are required to take three years of training classes so they can understand why it's not right to let elementary school kids do hard manual labor because their parents are underpaid.

The three companies were fined a total of $73,000 for the nine underage children the feds found working in the fields. The farms are prohibited from selling the berries picked by underage workers.


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7 comments
Adriane Bradley
Adriane Bradley

Pretty repulsive. 6 years old really? Picking 100-200 lbs of berries? The parents should be locked up!

Tom
Tom

"The farm honchos, Marty Peterson, George Hoffman and Lee Nguyen, are required to take three years of training classes so they can understand why it's not right to let elementary school kids do hard manual labor because their parents are underpaid."

This is such bullshit. How about some people understand why it is not right to let families starve because the kids are not allowed to work.  As you make the cost of manual labor more expensive, companies automate and import. 

I grantee all you airheads that the cloths and shoes you are wearing right now were imported from China, India and South America and their production was aided by child labor.

bill
bill

I meant to say for the "last" 5,000 kids worked along side their parents on the farm.

bill
bill

It seems to me that kids should be encouraged to work.  I started working when I was 12 years old. I developed a very fast understanding of how the world works because of that. I also built good strong shoulders.  The skills I learned back them still help me today.

Kids picking berries is not hazardous and it is expected in most agricultural communities around the world. For the 5,000 years kids have been helping on the farm from the time they are able to walk.  Why is it that in this B.S. society of ours they can not be productive.

Adriane Bradley
Adriane Bradley

The children working overseas are in abhorrent conditions, many as young as 6 and 12, closed up factories with NO windows. Make sure you know what you are talking about. The labor overseas is awful. Kids often die in the factories as well. In some of the factories the women have been locked in and in one a fire broke out and they all perished. That is what happens when there are no regulations. China, India, South America all of them abuse their workers. The CEOs fat cats in THIS country send the labor overseas because they make mega bucks by sending the jobs where they pay KIDS almost nothing. These kids have ZERO protections afforded to them and we of course should ALL KNOW that U.S. CEOS don't give a rats behind about the kids AT ALL.

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