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Farm Labor

ENTERTAINMENT
July 9, 2009 | Victoria Kim
Earlier this year, Dole Food Co. won a major victory in the L.A. courts when a judge threw out lawsuits brought by Nicaraguan banana workers purportedly rendered sterile by pesticide, saying the plaintiffs' case was a product of massive fraud. Now Dole is headed back to court but this time, it's Dole that's claiming to be the victim.
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ENTERTAINMENT
June 16, 2009 | Reed Johnson
In the eyes of Swedish documentary filmmaker Fredrik Gertten, his documentary "Bananas!" is a balanced, nuanced depiction of a trial pitting Nicaraguan banana plantation workers and a prominent L.A. attorney against a powerful multinational agribusiness. "It is a classical David-Goliath story," the director said in a phone interview last week. In the eyes of Dole Food Co.
BUSINESS
February 10, 2009 | Jerry Hirsch
What a difference a bad economy makes. The collapse of the construction industry and a slump in the restaurant and food service sector have sent thousands of people back to looking for work on California farms, which not so long ago were hurting for workers. "We have had no trouble getting workers for the winter vegetable harvest," said Jon Vessey, who farms 7,000 acres near El Centro. "There is a bigger supply of labor this year than last year or the year before."
NATIONAL
December 12, 2008 | Teresa Watanabe, Watanabe is a Times staff writer.
Aiming to ease farm labor shortages, the Bush administration issued sweeping changes to the nation's agricultural guest worker program Thursday, but California growers said the action would have only a minimal effect on their needs. The controversial rules, many months in the making by U.S.
BUSINESS
December 11, 2008 | associated press
As it prepares to leave office, the Bush administration is moving to make it easier for U.S. farming companies to hire foreign workers, which farmworker groups say will worsen wages and working conditions. The farmworker groups said changes to the H2A visa program, used by the agriculture industry to hire temporary workers, were posted on the Labor Department's website at midnight Tuesday but later taken down.
NATIONAL
October 23, 2008 | The Associated Press
Six farm employees in Iowa were charged with animal abuse and neglect Wednesday in connection with a video obtained by an animal-rights group that showed workers abusing pigs. Authorities in Greene County northwest of Des Moines began investigating about a month ago after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a video of workers at a farm in BayardIowa, hitting sows with metal rods, slamming piglets on a concrete floor and bragging about sodomizing sows with rods.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 25, 2008 | Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
Nearly 700 Ivory Coast farmworkers alleging that they became sterile from exposure to a U.S.-made pesticide can't claim to be victims of genocide because the producers didn't intend harm, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. The pesticide, known as DBCP for dibromochloropropane, has been banned in the United States since 1979. The Africans' suit against Amvac Chemical Corp. of Newport Beach, Dole Food Co. of Westlake Village, Dow Chemical Co. and Shell Oil Co. alleged that the manufacturers of DBCP and the fruit company that used it on overseas crops were guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 16, 2008 | Esmeralda Bermudez, Times Staff Writer
At least eight people were presumed dead Tuesday after a septic truck collided with a sport utility vehicle carrying farmworkers and both vehicles plunged into an irrigation canal in a rural area of Central California near Modesto. Divers helped recover the truck and the body of its driver at 6 p.m. after working for three hours in choppy, fast-moving waters, authorities said. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Mayolo Banuelos.
WORLD
June 16, 2008 | Patrick J. McDonnell, Times Staff Writer
For as far as the eye can see, stalks of sugar cane march across the hillsides here like giant praying mantises. This is ground zero for ethanol production in Brazil -- "the Saudi Arabia of biofuels," as some have already labeled this vast South American country.
BUSINESS
June 14, 2008 | From the Associated Press
State officials are shutting down a San Joaquin Valley farm labor contractor that hired a pregnant teen who died while pruning grapes last month. Authorities suspect 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez died because Merced Farm Labor denied her proper access to shade and water even as she worked in 100-degree heat. The California Department of Industrial Relations issued the stop-work order Thursday.
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