Farmworkers win unfair labor practices settlement

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A central California almond and grape grower has been ordered to pay nearly $1 million in a settlement with farmworkers for unfair labor practices, lawyers for the farmworkers said Tuesday.

The settlement requires H&R Gunlund Ranches Inc., of Caruthers, Calif., to pay $915,000 to 82 migratory farmworkers and their attorneys. It is the result of a lawsuit filed in 2009 by California Rural Legal Assistance, which represents the workers.

CRLA attorney Felicia Espinosa said that after legal fees, some $490,000 would be divided among 82 workers depending on when and how often they worked.

"It's a pretty good amount of money," she said. "We hope this encourages other workers to come forward."

Espinosa said the workers would be paid by Christmas.

The lawsuit accused the grower of violating state and federal law, including failing to pay minimum wage and overtime, violations of state rest and meal requirements, and not providing the necessary tools for pruning and tying grapevines.

A telephone call to H&R Gunlund Ranches seeking comment rang unanswered Tuesday night.

CRLA said the workers filed suit after they were fired for complaining that their per-piece pay had dropped dramatically. Some were being paid less than $3 per hour.

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 15 minutes ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • Why you can't buy America's greenest car 3 hours ago
    Why you can't buy America's greenest car

    Ask me or any auto expert what's the fastest car you can buy for any given amount, and we could easily cough up several options. Same for most luxurious, or off-roadable, or any other measurement. Yet there's one type of question that's far harder to answer: What's the greenest, most environmentally friendly car you can buy today?

  • Audi TT Offroad concept debuts as a 124-mpg hybrid with wireless charging 4 hours ago
    Audi TT Offroad concept debuts as a 124-mpg hybrid with wireless charging

    The TT. Audi's diminutive sports car. Since production began in 1998, the two-door coupe has aged with the pugnacity of a grizzled New Yorker, but not in size. And why would it, as the arrival of the TT RS proved, adding some grit makes for a rather captivating dish. And so you'll excuse us for being puzzled by the Audi TT Offroad concept.

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania
    McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.