Kailua-Kona Coffee Growers Face Labor Violations

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The U.S. Department of Labor has slapped seven Big Island coffee businesses with fines totaling more than $100,000.

Terence Trotter, director of the Honolulu District Office, was shocked to find widespread labor violations at some of Kona’s best-known coffee farms.

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Trotter says farm owners failed to pay workers the Federal minimum wage. Violation fees add up to more than $63,000 in back pay. Several farms mislabeled coffee pickers as independent contractors, denying them proper pay.

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The Department of Labor is working with the Kona Coffee Council to make sure these violations are not repeated.

The coffee farms in violation included Gold Coffee Company, Greenwell Farms, Koa Coffee Plantation, Bird Feather Hawaii, Mountain Thunder Coffee and Kona Blue Sky Coffee. Farm labor contractor Tomasita Farm Service was also named.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)