They condemn 3 US customs firms to pay 104 Mexican migrants almost 2 million dollars

They condemn 3 US customs firms to pay 104 Mexican migrants almost 2 million dollars

▲ The US Department of Labor investigates cases of labor exploitation in border cities.Photo Notimex

Emir Olivares Alonso

Newspaper La Jornada
Friday April 15, 2022, p. 6

Three United States customs companies must pay a combined sum of almost 2 million dollars in compensation to 104 Mexican migrant workers, since they incurred fraud and labor exploitation for uncovered minimum wages and overtime.

This was ordered by a federal court in the neighboring nation, after analyzing an investigation by the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which found that three San Diego-based bonded warehouses paid employees in Mexican pesos, who daily crossed the border – a wage equivalent to only $2.5 per hour, which constitutes a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA, for its acronym in English).

The companies engaged in similar schemes to exploit workers and circumvent the FLSA, including the use of affiliates in Mexico to pay them as if they were working in Mexican territory, even though the warehouses for which they were hired are located in Mesa de Otay, California, southeast of San Diego, right on the border.

The analysis showed that OMG Global Logistics, Columbia Export Group and Atlas Freight Forwarding did not pay these employees overtime either, so they must cover their corresponding debts in this area.

In addition, they will have to pay a total of 56 thousand 675 dollars in fines, given his reckless disregard of the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements.

The information was released in recent days at the Mexican consulate in San Diego, where the head of that diplomatic headquarters, Carlos González Gutiérrez, emphasized: Paying warehouse workers less than minimum wage and failing to cover their overtime are illegal practices that should never be tolerated.

The investigation revealed that AGA Investments II Inc –operating as Columbia Export Group and owned by Arturo Ruffo– denied federal minimum wages and overtime to employees who crossed the border every day to work at their Otay Mesa warehouse. For this reason, he must pay 60 workers a figure of 267 thousand 408 dollars for the lack of minimum floors and 648 thousand 269 for overtime. In addition to 34 thousand 958 dollars of fines.

For the same violations, OMG Freight Forwarders – known as OMG Global Logistics, owned by Oscar Mayer – paid workers through an affiliate in Mexico by direct deposit in Mexican pesos and refused to cover overtime beyond 40 in a work week. After these absences, he will have to pay 233 thousand 141 and 588 thousand 932 dollars, in minimum wages and overtime, respectively, to 31 employees; as well as fines for 10 thousand 921 dollars.

While Atlas Freight Forwarding’s San Diego warehouse covered a flat rate and in Mexican pesos for all the hours worked, for which it changed the payroll to its headquarters in Tijuana to process the payments. For the above, the US court ordered him to pay 111,584 dollars divided among 13 workers and fines of 10,790 dollars.

When presenting these results, it was reported that companies based on the border between the two countries are still being investigated to determine if similar exploitation schemes are present in other cities, and it was said that the US Department of Labor defends rights, regardless of immigration status. of the employees.

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