The area’s largest fruit producer will pay $3 million in a settlement with more than 10,000 visiting agricultural workers to reimburse three years of unpaid wages.
The agreement hashed out in federal court is 25 times the amount the H-2A workers would have received under a settlement proposed last year. The plaintiffs claimed Stemilt Ag Services, which hires field workers for Stemilt Growers orchard operations throughout Washington, deprived them of pay they should have received for labor outside the orchards.
Stemilt Ag Services entered the agreed settlement in April with former field employees after mediation that took place from January through April. The lawsuit, brought by plaintiffs Omar Palma Renteria, Gilberto Gomez Garcia and Jonathan Gomez Rivera on behalf of themselves and thousands of fellow ag laborers, was originally filed in Chelan County court in 2018.