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Agriculture

July 13, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Egg Farm Fined, Ordered to Pay Back Wages: A.J. DeCoster Co. of Turner, Maine, has been fined $3.6 million and ordered to pay back wages to dozens of migrant workers who cleaned processing plants and were illegally charged for housing that Labor Secretary Robert Reich characterized as inhumane. Reich said an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection turned up numerous violations of health, safety, wage and hour laws and that the company has a 20-year history of violating transportation, labor and immigration laws. DeCoster owner Austin J. DeCoster said he is disappointed by the results of the inspection but will consider them as suggestions for improvement. DeCoster is a private company that produces about 13 million eggs weekly and has annual sales of more than $40 million. It employs about 1,100 people in its U.S. plants.

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