Foreign workers hired to pick blueberries sue farm

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of about 600 foreign farmworkers who were hired to pick blueberries on a farm in northwestern Washington last summer.

The Bellingham Herald reports the lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Seattle includes 70 workers who were fired after they went on a one-day strike to protest what they said were poor working conditions and lack of medical care for an ill co-worker.

That co-worker, Honesto Silva Ibarra of Mexico, died at Harborview Medical Center Aug. 6. He was among workers brought to Sarbanand Farms near Sumas under the H-2A visa program.

The complaint against Sarbanand Farms, its owner Munger Brothers in California and labor contractor CSI Visa Processing USA alleges violations of federal and state labor laws.

Neither Sarbanand nor Munger could be reached for comment Thursday.