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Southwest Michigan farm faces lawsuit for alleged violations of wage and safety laws

Last year, three workers sued a Branch County farm and its parent company in federal court. The workers allege violations of wage and safety laws.

Three workers sued Maroa Farms in Coldwater along with its parent company, Mastronardi Produce.

They claim their employers violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying overtime, and by using a deceptive bonus system. Additionally, the workers allege they were illegally exposed to chemicals that led to headaches, nose bleeds, and other ailments.

Farmworkers Justice and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, or MIRC, represent the plaintiffs.

On its website, the MIRC says some other migrant and seasonal crop workers may be entitled to payment as part of a possible class-action settlement. They must apply to join the class action by the end of the month.

Both the MIRC and a lawyer for the defendants declined to comment on the case.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023.