Agriculture

Reedley farm labor contractor may lose permit to operate

The U.S. Department of Labor is seeking to revoke a Reedley-based farm labor contractor’s permit after four of his workers were killed in a car crash last year.

Officials with the department’s Wage and Hour Division announced Wednesday that they intend to stop the operations of C.A.T. Labor Services and its owner Cecilio Arredondo Terrazas for failing to comply with federal protections for transporting workers.

In January 2015, four passengers in a minivan were killed in a crash with a tractor trailer near Fresno. The van’s driver was a C.A.T. foreman and the farmworkers were employed by the labor contractor. Investigators found that the crash victims were not wearing seat belts.

Terrazas could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but Department of Labor officials say he has a history of federal violations, including failing to meet basic transportation safety requirements for transporting farmworkers.

“C.A.T. Labor Services’ continued negligence and failure to follow basic safety requirements led to four deaths and countless others being put at risk,” said Ruben Rosalez, wage and hour regional administrator.

To help the Central Valley’s 1,500 registered farm labor contractors stay in compliance, the Department of Labor opened a new office in Fresno. The office is located at the Civic Center Square Courtyard, 906 N. St., Suite 105.

The farm labor contractor can appeal the Department of Labor’s findings and request a hearing on the matter.

Robert Rodriguez: 559-441-6327, @FresnoBeeBob

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