Twenty migrant farmworkers filed a federal lawsuit this week against Iowa-based seed corn producer Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., which they say bound them to live in unacceptable housing and paid them only a fraction of what they were promised for a season’s worth of labor.
Pioneer recruited the farmworkers from throughout the Rio Grande Valley last summer to detassel corn in Indiana, according to papers in the case filed Tuesday in the U.S. Southern District Court of Texas.
In the lawsuit, the workers allege the company lured them to travel across the country for the jobs by guaranteeing stable pay and substantial bonuses. Instead, Pioneer failed to pay them minimum wage, took illegal deductions from their wages and forced them to live in rundown, overcrowded housing, workers state in court filings.
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