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‘Extortion’: Why Did the Labor Department ‘Drop the Hammer’ on Oregon Farmers? (Obama)
theblaze.com ^ | 08-31-2012 | Becket Adams

Posted on 09/03/2012 4:08:19 PM PDT by bronxville

‘Extortion’: Why Did the Labor Department ‘Drop the Hammer’ on Oregon Farmers?

"Oregon farmers and state officials are furious with the U.S. Labor Department after federal authorities in July put a hold on thousands of dollars worth of blueberries, citing “widespread” record-keeping and minimum wage violations, Eric Mortenson reports for The Oregonian.

“[T]he 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,” according to the report.

“Hot goods” orders are used by the department’s Wage and Hour Division to halt the production and/or sale of goods its believes were produced in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

But here‘s what has members of Oregon’s congressional delegation and the Oregon Farm Bureau particularly disturbed: The federal agency told the farmers that they could make everything go away if they paid “a fine and back wages and sign a consent judgment admitting wrong and agreeing not to contest the order even if subsequent information exonerated the farms.”

It’s “extortion,” said Greg Ditchen whose farm had to pay $169,816 in back wages and penalties. He had no other choice. It was either that or let his crops go to waste.

“They put a hot goods order on our fruit, and after they had the money they said we had to sign a paper saying we were wrong,” Ditchen said. “We had to make a business decision and sign the paper.”"

CONTINUED AT SITE: http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/post_article


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: extortion; farmers; obama
And he wasn’t the only farmer to take a hit.

“A second farm, E&S Farms Inc. of Woodburn, paid $11,301 in back wages and a $10,500 penalty. Earlier this month, the Department of Labor said Pan-American Berry Growers of Salem signed a consent order to pay $41,778 in back wages and a $7,040 civil penalty,” Mortenson reports.

Since imposing the heavy-handed fees and giving the growers no other choice but to pay them, Oregon’s labor commissioner, agriculture director, and members of the state’s congressional delegation have demanded the labor department explain itself.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis pauses during a news conference at the G20 Labor and Employment Ministers Meeting at the Labor Department on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian told the fed agency in a letter that they most likely violated the constitutional search and seizure and due process rights of farmers “who have yet to be found guilty of anything.”

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/extortion-why-did-the-labor-department-drop-the-hammer-on-ore-farmers/

1 posted on 09/03/2012 4:08:27 PM PDT by bronxville
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To: bronxville

2 posted on 09/03/2012 4:10:44 PM PDT by bronxville ( Obama "The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra")
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To: bronxville
Obama’s donors aren't coughing up enough dollars. They got to get campaign funds from somebody.
3 posted on 09/03/2012 4:15:06 PM PDT by Brad from Tennessee (A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.)
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To: bronxville
This is good.

The more Hilda Solis, Reconquistadora, pushes U.S. labor regulations on the criminal farmers who hire illegal aliens, the more they will realize they have to just comply with the laws.

Which means they forget about the illegals, and go back to hiring Americans.

To do that jobs Americans won't do. But used to, before the farming class decided that they really like U.S. property laws (which make them rich), but really don't like U.S. labor laws (which only make other Americans employed).

Of course, if the SOBs in Oregon want to use Mexican labor to do their work, they can always move to Mexico.

I'm sure the Mexican thug society will welcome them with open arms, and huge land grants, like they got for being Americans.

Sure they will.

4 posted on 09/03/2012 4:23:03 PM PDT by Regulator
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To: bronxville

Obama’s courting the Illegal Immigrant Farm Laborer Vote.


5 posted on 09/03/2012 4:28:17 PM PDT by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: bronxville
But here‘s what has members of Oregon’s congressional delegation and the Oregon Farm Bureau particularly disturbed: The federal agency told the farmers that they could make everything go away if they paid “a fine and back wages and sign a consent judgment admitting wrong and agreeing not to contest the order even if subsequent information exonerated the farms.”

That sounds like extortion to me.

6 posted on 09/03/2012 4:30:12 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Don't think for a minute that this excuse for a President has America's best interest in mind.)
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To: Sarajevo
So, they caved ~ but they'd been breaking the law for years just so they could bring in cheap Mexican labor and avoid hiring Americans.

This particular bunch of farmers gave it away when they suggested they'd need to be sued to get them to conform to American law.

7 posted on 09/03/2012 4:42:44 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: bronxville

Theft by Government thugs.

This is Obama’s America.


8 posted on 09/03/2012 4:43:04 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: bronxville
Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian told the fed agency in a letter that they most likely violated the constitutional search and seizure and due process rights of farmers “who have yet to be found guilty of anything.”

I agree

These farmers should get together and hire a lawyer and file a civil rights lawsuit.

You can’t let the government get away with this stuff unless you want it to become a regular thing you have to deal with every year.

9 posted on 09/03/2012 4:45:54 PM PDT by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: Regulator

I was born in oregon. when i was young we went out and picked strawberries with my grandmother. i think we got 50 cents a crate back at that time.

worked all summer long, but that was a lot of money for a seven year old kid. the bathtub had a red ring around it after i was done, along with my brother and sisters.

i still hate strawberries till this day. ate too many, picked too many, but my grandma taught me how to work.

i preferred eating the cherry’s off the tree, and crabapples too. and apples? got them cuz my aunt had an apple tree in her yard and i would crawl up and eat apples.

but, picking strawberries, gave me money.

bought a kodak camera with the money. took pictures, made me proud that i had something that i enjoyed. took pictures of my mom and dad, brother and sisters. it was worth it.

my old grandma, going out with us to show us how to work. that was the most wonderful gift of all.

God bless her, she died at 99.

Blessings, bobo


10 posted on 09/03/2012 4:47:14 PM PDT by bobo1
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To: bronxville
federal authorities in July put a hold on thousands of dollars worth of blueberries, ...

Blueberries eh.....could it be because the Blueberry has exceptional medicinal properties....

When Blueberries are banned...only outlaw herbal gardeners will have blueberries,

Berries contain: Flavinod glycosides, Polyphrnols , Pectins and Vitamin C.

Herbal use: Astringent, tonic and antiseptic properties for treatment of diarrhoea, dysentry, haemoroids, gastrointestinal inflammation, mouth infections, scurvy and urinary complaints.

It has also been used in diabetes, gout, and rheumatism and applied locally in eye infections, burns, and skin infections.

Herbal Medicines 2nd ed, J. Barnes, L. A. Anderson and J. D. Phillipson.

Pub by Pharmaceutical Press ISBN 0-85369-474-5.

Enjoy your Blueberries.

11 posted on 09/03/2012 4:47:45 PM PDT by spokeshave (The only people better off today than 4 years ago are the Prisoners at Guantanamo.)
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To: bronxville
"The federal agency told the farmers that they could make everything go away if they paid “a fine and back wages and sign a consent judgment admitting wrong and agreeing not to contest the order even if subsequent information exonerated the farms.” "

Are you fricken kidding? - How's that hope and change workin folks? Are you gonna keep bending over???

12 posted on 09/03/2012 4:47:54 PM PDT by wesagain (The God (Elohim) of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the One True GOD.)
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To: bronxville
"The federal agency told the farmers that they could make everything go away if they paid “a fine and back wages and sign a consent judgment admitting wrong and agreeing not to contest the order even if subsequent information exonerated the farms.” "

Are you fricken kidding? - How's that hope and change workin folks? Are you gonna keep bending over???

13 posted on 09/03/2012 4:48:06 PM PDT by wesagain (The God (Elohim) of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the One True GOD.)
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To: Sarajevo
That sounds like extortion to me.

A contract signed under duress is invalid.

These farmers need to find the best lawyer they can afford and fight this.

14 posted on 09/03/2012 4:48:43 PM PDT by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: Sarajevo
BTW, if you think this is tough imagine what would happen if you got caught dealing in more than 15 bunny rabbits a year without your permit from USDA as a bunny breeder?

Remember that family who got tagged for raising bunnies without that permit ~ tens of thousands of bucks. See; >http://puppies.burningbird.net/article/john-dollarhite-and-his-90000-usda-fine

15 posted on 09/03/2012 4:49:31 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: bronxville

Where is Gov. Kitzhaber, hmm? Or doesn’t he give a damn about Oregon farmers anymore?

In all, I believe it is time American farmers realize they can no longer use illegal aliens as labor, period. This means they must change the way they run their businesses.

Americans are an imaginative lot, and especially so our farmers. There exist solutions to their problems; farmers just have to be willing to change their business models and apply really hard pressure on Congress.

I used to live in Oregon and know that before 1972, berry crops in Oregon and Washington states were havested by kids between 10 and 18 years old. My sister was one of them. I myself picked strawberries in the Capristrano Valley, 1978. The Feds have now made that impossible, and laws and regulations preventing American youngsters working in the fields during summer must be repealed.

We do not need illegal aliens doing this labor intensive farm work during the summer months.


16 posted on 09/03/2012 4:50:34 PM PDT by SatinDoll (NATURAL BORN CITZEN: BORN IN THE USA OF CITIZEN PARENTS.)
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To: bronxville
I suspect it is part of the Federal program to concentrate ALL growing of food in two or three large agricultural corporations. It is now actually illegal to grow anything edible in any small, non farm, garden anywhere and farmers' markets are outlawed. The Central Valley in California is being turned back into desert as the Feds have denied farmers there access to water. The goal seems to be something like the old Soviet State Farms. We are passing right by the "collective" agricultural stage and going straight to nominally free enterprise corporate monopolies. That way lies eventual famine as the breadbasket of the world drastically reduces the variety of produce and grains and makes agriculture dependent on sterile crops that must be replenished from the Monsanto,ADM,etc labs. At sơme point in the future there must be a breakdown such as happens in agriculture but with only a few huge enterprises a farm disaster becomes a national disaster. And at the same time it is a cause for Federal investigation and confiscation if one is suspected of "hoarding" more than two weeks of food. This all doesn't look so much like 30s Germany as it looks like 30s Soviet Union. And it is not all OBAMA. This has been building through several administrations in a pretty much independent bureaucracy that happily implements destructive orders from the Executive and happily makes up its own rules in the absence of or along with such orders.
17 posted on 09/03/2012 4:54:41 PM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson)
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To: SatinDoll

He’s in the union shop dictating for the masters.

On one hand, it’s good to encourage legal workers.

But on the other two hands, you can’t afford them, or the government regulations to grow food.


18 posted on 09/03/2012 4:56:37 PM PDT by dk88 (Outlaw)
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To: muawiyah

See my post at #16, and bobo1’s at #10.

The Federal Govt. forced the farmers to hire migrant labor rather than seasonal local labor, which over time became more and more a force of illegal aliens from south of the border.


19 posted on 09/03/2012 4:57:32 PM PDT by SatinDoll (NATURAL BORN CITZEN: BORN IN THE USA OF CITIZEN PARENTS.)
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To: bronxville
"Oregon farmers and state officials are furious with the U.S. Labor Department after federal authorities in July put a hold on thousands of dollars worth of blueberries,

These days, that's not many blueberries.

20 posted on 09/03/2012 5:05:43 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: bronxville

First they came for the blueberry farmers, but I wasn’t a blueberry farmer...


21 posted on 09/03/2012 5:06:14 PM PDT by norton
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To: muawiyah
So, they caved ~ but they'd been breaking the law for years just so they could bring in cheap Mexican labor and avoid hiring Americans.

Mu, as a one-time pecan grower, I've had my own dealings as an agricultural producer with the Wage & Hour Division of the Labor Department.

And the nicest thing I can say about them is that they are inordinately stupid, bureaucratically ossified, so unreasonable as to be defensive about it and unbelievably inefficient. A more accurate and telling assessment, however, is that their supervisors are corruptible as a Latin American petty fiefdom.

On the basis of experience, I've absolutely no doubt whose side I'm inclined to believe in this case.

Between Hilda Solis and the Obama administration, it would not surprise if this was a compensatory move for Obama having to miss a couple of fundraisers to go to New Orleans.

These people are simply not worth your defending.

22 posted on 09/03/2012 5:12:00 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: SatinDoll
If you are old enough and lived near enough to farm life your parents and grandparents did farm work all summer long every year.

The federales prohibit certain forms of child labor ~ presumably "for the chillun" ~ but also to insure labor for unemployed adults.

At the time the child labor restrictions were enacted the federal minimum wage law didn't apply to farm work. That didn't happen until 1966.

So it wasn't like the federales were working on a grand scheme to disposses farmers ~ that happened later and was written out by farm implement manufacturers! One man, one tractor, ten farms eh!

23 posted on 09/03/2012 5:12:36 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: okie01
No one's defending them at all ~ but they didn't even come 'round the farms until 1966 at the earliest. Fruit pickers had been being brought up from the Caribbean and Central America for many, many years before your first encounter with the hourly wage people.

You know very well none of those guys want to pay an American wage so they go after illegals who will work for less.

BTW, 20 million illegal aliens later NO ONE WANTS TO DEFEND THOSE FARMERS EITHER

24 posted on 09/03/2012 5:16:49 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

Minimum wage didn’t apply to farmers until 1990-or-so, so we had nothing to do with the Wage & Hour Division until then.

I’ve never met a more pig-headed, arrogant...and ultimately lazy...group of people. They knew nothing about the industry they had been assigned to regulate — and they couldn’t be bothered to learn a damn thing.

I’m betting this particular event really is extortion.


25 posted on 09/03/2012 5:32:30 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: bobo1

Nothing as sweet as life lessons


26 posted on 09/03/2012 5:37:40 PM PDT by WomBom ("I read Free Republic for the pictures")
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To: okie01
There's also the location ~ do you realize how rural rural OR really is?
27 posted on 09/03/2012 5:42:15 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: bronxville
It’s “extortion,” said Greg Ditchen whose farm had to pay $169,816 in back wages and penalties.

Historically, there's really only one effective way to deal with extortionists. If you give them what they want, they just come back for more later.

28 posted on 09/03/2012 5:47:49 PM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: bronxville

Hope everyone enjoys their canned food from China because the American farm is about to be regulated out of existence.


29 posted on 09/03/2012 5:48:46 PM PDT by DirtyDawg (eat fruit)
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To: DirtyDawg

The American family farm was forced out of business gradually over the last century ~ their replacements were said by many to be vastly superior!


30 posted on 09/03/2012 6:06:05 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: arthurus

We all have to make sure to “Thank”,Sen. Tom Coburn ( R ) Oklahoma,for being the person who singlehandidly, let the stalinist, ‘Food Safety and Modernization Act’ pass,by ‘Unanimous Consent’,during the 2010 lameduck session. “Thanks” to Coburn,Obama now has the right to control and regulate the entire food supply,incuding Home garden’s. Now,Obama can use denial of food as a weapon against the American people. Thanks for nothing, Coburn you Bleephead!


31 posted on 09/03/2012 6:34:51 PM PDT by mark1973
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To: muawiyah

It isn’t just the family farm that is going away it is all farming. I know because I farm. If you think having to depend on foreign oil is a risk to our security, wait until we are dependent on other countries for our food. America needs a wake up call. I have to worry about water, pests, weather, labor and oppressive govt regulations along with volatile markets. All the while risking millions of dollars every year before anything is in the barn. Rather than a govt that is there to help us be more competitive in a global market, they are out to get us with an army of small minded bureaucrats. Our problem is much bigger than the loss of family farms.


32 posted on 09/03/2012 8:07:12 PM PDT by DirtyDawg (eat fruit)
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To: muawiyah
There's also the location ~ do you realize how rural rural OR really is?

Blueberries are grown in the Willamette Valley.

We're not talking John Day or Burns, here.

33 posted on 09/03/2012 8:14:34 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: mark1973
Now,Obama can use denial of food as a weapon against the American people.

Obama and following presidents.It is like giving a president you trust certain powers that you feel he needs and will use well without considering what a president from the other side could and would do with those powers. Remember RICO? This particular power would seem to have no excuse at all no matter who is president.

34 posted on 09/04/2012 6:00:03 AM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson)
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To: okie01

I grow blueberries in my backyard. If I let them they’ll grow into a tree a good 30 feet tall in this particular microclimate so I have to really prune them back every three or four years. This year we had moderate drought in this area so I let the birds have them.


35 posted on 09/04/2012 7:38:40 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: bobo1
Yeah. I knew guys in college in Arizona back in early 70s who made their tuition packing oranges in Yuma, and we used to pick peaches near Wilcox every summer, 115 degrees even in the tree shade.

It's simply rank discrimination at work, not just low wages.

The Mexican farm labor contractors make sure only their buddies get jobs - the UFW sure as hell doesn't tolerate Whitey taking "their" jobs - and the farmers don't give a damn as long as the product comes in.

So it's just a exclusion gig. You won't see any Black people, or Asians, or Indians, or whatever out there.

And you sure won't see any American teenagers ever again. They'd just get beat up if they actually tried to do the work.

36 posted on 09/04/2012 1:47:51 PM PDT by Regulator
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To: muawiyah
You know very well none of those guys want to pay an American wage so they go after illegals who will work for less.

That's the way business works. Lower the overhead as much as possible to maximize profits. If a business isn't profitable, it goes under. I seriously doubt that Americans would willingly pay the price for a quart of blueberry's if the farmer were stuck with paying higher wages, insurance, etc, etc, etc.

37 posted on 09/04/2012 3:32:56 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Don't think for a minute that this excuse for a President has America's best interest in mind.)
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To: Sarajevo
Let's say we had no illegals picking blueberries ~ the product would not disappear. The price would undoubtedly go up for a while, but suddenly Oregon berry growers would have competition in the Midwest ~ just like the good old days.

That and mechanization would bring the price down, encourage more berry growers to plant more berries, and we'd all have more and cheaper berries and no illegals.

Same with tomatos ~ except they've gotta' breed the taste back in (now that they know why tomatos lost their taste) ~

38 posted on 09/04/2012 4:01:51 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah
Doubtful. I was at the market today and had to laugh my @$$ off when I saw an 8oz pack of okra priced at $4.99.
That's the price of no transient labor, no neighborhood kids working for some spending money, onerous regulations, and mechanization.
39 posted on 09/05/2012 4:17:07 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Don't think for a minute that this excuse for a President has America's best interest in mind.)
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