The U.S. Department of Labor’s investigators and attorneys are working to prevent companies along the United States-Mexico border from exploiting Mexican workers.
Wage and Hour Division investigators recently discovered three San Diego-area customs warehouses were violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The employers, OMG Global Logistics, Atlas Freight Forwarding and Columbia Export Group PDSA, were ordered to pay approximately $2 million combined in minimum and overtime back wages to employees.
It turns out the companies were paying wages as low as $2.50 per hour and also used Mexican affiliates to pay employees, making it appear as if they worked in Mexico rather than the United States.
This took place in the San Diego neighborhood of Otay Mesa where some workers were making a daily international commute to work at warehouses.
Columbia Export Group denied workers federal minimum wages and overtime premiums and ended up paying penalties to 60 employees.
OMG Global Logistics, OMG Freight Forwarders and owner Oscar Mayer paid below minimum wage and denied overtime wages. They also paid their wages through an affiliate’s payroll in Mexico as direct deposit in Mexican pesos. The court ordered payment to 31 employees.
Atlas Freight Forwarding used the payroll of a Tijuana-based affiliate to pay workers a flat rate in Mexican pesos for all hours worked. As a result, a total of 13 employees received back wages.
Acting Wage and Hour Division Administrator Jessica Looman said, “No one should be paid as little as $2.50 per hour. The outcome of these cases sends a message that the Department of Labor will hold these labor law violators accountable.”