FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The opening of a new US Department of Labor office in Fresno will help keep farm labor contractors compliant. Local farmworker safety will be a priority.
Four farm laborers were killed January 9th last year when their mini-van clipped a big rig near orange cove-- they were not wearing seat-belts. Five other people were injured.
As a result C.A.T. Labor Services owner Cecilio Terrazzas of Reedley can no longer operate. "We had investigated them multiple times so it got the point, now, where we had to revoke their license," said Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator.
Rosalez was on hand to open the new US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division office in Downtown Fresno. There labor contractors can get registered and have any questions answered. "They're either going to have to be in compliance or they're going out of business," said Earl Hall, labor contractor.
Hall is California's largest farm labor contractor providing as many as 30,000 workers around the state each year. Hall said the office will help protect the ag labor force. "Without these folks, there'd be riots, because there'd be no food."
Rosalez said farm labor contractors need to fill out a great deal of paperwork and must have the appropriate licenses. Over 1500 registered contractors operate in the Valley. "We want to see the workers paid properly, get them safe transportation to the fields, and the way to do it is to start with registration."
Office staff can assist labor contractors in both English and Spanish.