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Feds: Chang Farm must ante up $300K for underpaying help

WHATELY — Federal labor regulators say the owners of the Whately-based Chang & Sons Enterprises Inc. have been ordered to pay more than $300,000 in back wages, damages and penalties for underpaying workers.

The U.S. Labor Department announced Thursday that it had secured a consent judgment in federal court ordering the local bean sprout and soy bean farm on River Road to pay 14 workers.

The Chang Farm is run by Sidney Chang and founded by Rose C. Chang and Tso-Cheng.

Federal authorities say the workers were paid below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and often worked 90 hours per week planting, harvesting and packaging sprouts. Instead, they were paid a flat rate of $350 to $450 per week.

In August, a Chang farm worker had confirmed to The Recorder he had to work 90 hours for $350 per week.

The state Department of Public Health has also sued Chang & Sons for failing to meet sanitary and housing code for two farm work houses located at 23 Sugarloaf St., in Deerfield and 299 River Road in Whately. The Deerfield home was condemned and demolished. Whether to destroy or repair the Whately house is still pending in the Springfield Housing Court.

Chang & Sons distributes its products to restaurants throughout New England, New York and New Jersey. A message has been left with Chang & Sons.

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