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Seed company sued in Mich. by migrant workers

CASSOPOLIS, Mich. – A major seed company is being sued by more than 30 migrant farm workers who say they were underpaid while removing tassels from corn in southwest Michigan.

The workers are mostly from Texas and were hired in 2012 to work in Cass County. Detasseling is hot, labor-intensive work that occurs while the corn still is in the ground.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Grand Rapids, accuses Johnston, Iowa-based DuPont Pioneer and two recruiters of violating federal wage and migrant labor laws. The allegations include poor housing, unsafe transportation to the fields and inadequate water.

DuPont Pioneer was formerly called Pioneer Hi-Bred and is part of Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont Co.

The seed company denies the allegations. A court filing last week said all parties “remain open” to a settlement.

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