Death of teen immigrant farm worker nets $260K fine

Pub date July 24, 2008
SectionPolitics Blog


Earlier this month we reported on Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, a 17-year-old immigrant farm worker whose heat-related death sparked a public outcry against Trader Joe’s and their cheaper-than-thou “Two-buck Chuck” wine.

Jimenez was employed by Merced Farm Labor, which contracts with the same company that supplies the grapes that go into the infamous $2 a bottle Charles Shaw wine, sold exclusively at Trader Joe’s. While Jimenez was not picking grapes specifically for that wine, United Farm Workers asked supporters to pressure Trader Joe’s to ensure that their vendors are contracting with responsible companies.

Jimenez’s death also instigated an investigation by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA), into Merced Farm Labor’s protocols. Today, the state agency announced they’re citing the company for three alleged serious and willful violations of state laws. Penalties could run as much as $263,000.

Makes putting out a little water and shade for your workers look a lot more affordable.