Valley Migrant Workers Win Settlement Against Seed Corn Producer

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      
December 4, 2007

Contact: Jennifer Smith, Attorney
Cynthia Martinez, Communications Director

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Twenty-seven migrant workers from Cameron County will be paid $81,000 to settle their lawsuit against Iowa-based seed corn producer Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. and its farm labor contractor Francisco Coronado.

Filed in June 2006, the workers’ lawsuit alleged that Pioneer Hi-Bred and its agent, Francisco Coronado, gave incomplete and misleading information to the workers regarding their employment, including their wage rate and the availability of end-of season bonuses. The lawsuit also alleged that Pioneer provided substandard housing to the workers and transportation that did not meet minimum safety standards.  The company also failed to pay them for all hours worked.

Represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), the leading provider of legal aid in Texas, the workers were employed by the company for work in Indiana in July 2005.  The workers left their homes and traveled across the country based on promises that were not kept.  Their employment lasted only twenty days.

According to TRLA attorney Jennifer Smith, “This is a well-deserved victory for these workers. We hope that workers in similar situations will continue to come forward to enforce their rights and that this settlement sends a message to employers that these types of abuses will not go unchallenged.”

Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality civil legal assistance and related educational services.


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