Elephant in the room: a coffee picker is the least likely of all workers in the coffee chain to get paid a fair wage. In Hawaii, a field hand’s wages are enforced by the United States Department of Labor. KITV reports:
A Kona coffee grower has paid more than $46,000 in fines and back wages to Mexican workers after a dispute about how the coffee pickers should be paid.
The workers are legal immigrant workers from MichoacDan, Mexico brought to the United States under the H-2A visa program for temporary agricultural workers.
Investigators found that Kona Coffee Grounds tried to get workers to forfeit their rights to certain pay and hours under the visa program and was fined $21,000. In addition, the company has paid more than $25,000 in back wages to the 24 workers.
Wally Dahlen of Kona Coffee Grounds said the company interpreted the laws about how the workers should be paid differently than the labor department.