Why am I not shocked that Monsanto would take advantage of immigrants in America? Earlier this week, thirteen migrant workers sued Monsanto and Gulf Citrus Harvesting & Hauling, Inc. for labor violations. Monsanto contacted Gulf Citrus to recruit and to hire migrant workers to detassel corn on a field owned by Monsanto in Nebraska. Detasseling is done by taking the tops off of cornstalks and tossing them on the ground so that the corn will have a better chance to cross-pollinate for a bumper crop.
We all know that immigration is against the law. However, lawbreaking is not uncommon to Monsanto. They lured the migrants in with an incentive package of $70 per acre cleared, lodging, and three square meals a day. Then, they took back on what they contracted to the migrants.
After working the fields, Gulf Citrus, the contracting company, never tallied how many acres they cleared out on a daily basis. That means that they were not paid. Instead of the three square meals, they were fed only eggs, rice, onions, and dirty water.
To make matters even worse, Monsanto was spraying the field that they were adjacent to with the pesticide known as dicamba. The problem with dicamba is that the pesticide vaporizes at normal temperatures (around 80 degrees Fahrenheit). The dicamba drift happened and one of the migrant workers had an asthma attack and almost died.
In the lawsuit, they are asking for all of the unpaid wages along with punitive damages of $500 per person. This amount seems rather reasonable in comparison to the $10 billion that Bayer and Monsanto are about to shell out for RoundUp litigation.