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Cucumber harvesters to get $11,250 in back wages

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COPEMISH, Mich. (AP) — The government says a northern Michigan farmer has agreed to pay $11,250 in back wages to three dozen people who picked cucumbers.

The agreement follows a March ruling by Grand Rapids federal Judge Gordon Quist. He says the workers were employees, not contractors, and were covered by federal wage law. The U.S. Labor Department sued Darryl Howes and his farm in Copemish in Manistee County.

He was accused of violating laws during the cucumber harvest three years ago. The farm grows cucumbers that are turned into pickles.

The government said migrant workers got less than the minimum wage and were given poor housing.

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