Feds shakedown blueberry farmers, Chicago-styleSubmitted by amitj78 on Sun, 09/02/2012 - 08:25
In late July, investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor visited three blueberry farms in Marion County and announced finding "widespread" record-keeping and minimum wage violations at each.
Farm labor law investigations are often contentious, especially involving fruit pickers working on a "piece rate" basis rather than an hourly wage. But these cases took an unusual turn as the labor department's Wage and Hour Division staff in Portland dropped the hammer.
In a move Oregon's congressional delegation and the Oregon Farm Bureau say was unprecedented and deeply unfair, the department invoked a "hot goods" provision of labor law that prohibited shipment of the berries. Labor officials also notified wholesalers that berries from the farms would be subject to the order and should not be processed or shipped.
It gets worse...read on: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2012/08/farm_bu...
Personal experience: My wife and I were on a cross-country trip from New York to Montana and stayed a night in Chicago. We were eating in the restaurant at the hotel; which was a 5-star restaurant for the city. It was morning on a weekday so it was relatively empty.
All of a sudden, a fire truck drives through the parking lot and parks out of sight from our window. Two men in plainclothes walk out and enter the restaurant and then tell the maitre d' that they are here for a fire inspection and to get the manager. The maitre d' tells the restaurant manager and she audibly exclaimed "shit!"
She walked in the back while the "fire inspectors" waited at the front, then came back with an envelope, handed it to them, they checked it and then left to go shakedown the next place. All of this was done in front of the eyes of a dozen restaurant patrons. I feel inclined to never visit Chicago again.