A federal judge has confirmed an earlier ruling that two Oregon blueberry farmers were coerced into signing a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor over alleged labor law violations. According to the ruling, the farmers had little choice but to sign the agreements, because the department had impounded “hot goods.” Without an immediate settlement, these goods would have spoiled. Consequently, the judge has vacated the settlement. It was deemed a big victory for blueberry growers, and also the U.S. Farm Bureau, which has lent the farmers critical support in the case. The OAN, which has several blueberry shrub growers as members, has also monitored the issue and worked towards a resolution. Despite the loss in court, Department of Labor has not ruled out an appeal. The Capital Press agricultural newspaper (Salem, Oregon) has coverage here.
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About Curt Kipp
Curt Kipp is the director of publications and communications at the Oregon Association of Nurseries, and the editor of Digger magazine.