Nevada onion grower to pay $2.8M in back wages, fine
RENO, Nev. (AP) -- The biggest onion grower in Nevada has agreed to pay nearly $3 million in back wages and penalties for violating a federal program used to bring foreign workers to the United States on temporary agricultural visas.
U.S. Labor Department officials said Tuesday the Yerington-based Peri & Sons agreed to pay a record $2.3 million in back wages to 1,365 workers plus a $500,000 civil penalty.
Federal investigators determined the workers were underpaid while irrigating fields, harvesting, packing and shipping the onions from farms about 70 miles southeast of Reno.
All the workers came from Mexico under the H-2A program intended to help employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers.
U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says the program cannot work as intended unless employers comply with the law.