The owners of an Addison County dairy farm are disputing the claims of a former worker who says he is owed some $600 in wages.
Jose Ramos, a former employee at Goodrich Family Farm in Salisbury, says the owners have refused to issue his final paycheck. On Saturday, the worker-advocacy group Migrant Justice organized a protest at the farm, where they described how Ramos was allegedly shoved and had the door closed in his face when he showed up demanding to be paid.
On Monday, the family responded. In a statement, Chase Goodrich pushed back on the charge that the farm owes Ramos for unpaid work, saying the former employee was “consistently” late and had asked other workers to clock him in when he wasn’t on the job.
MORE: Addison County farm workers protest alleged abuse, wage theft
Goodrich said farm owners had several meetings with Ramos about his lateness. He was fired, he said, after he clocked in for a shift, then left and never returned, a violation of company policy. Before he was discharged, Goodrich said, Ramos was “compensated fairly for his time.”
“We hold all of our employees, both local and migrant, to the same standards: show up for work on time, treat their co-workers and the cows with respect, and work honestly as part of a team,” Goodrich said.
A Migrant Justice spokesperson, Will Lambek, disputed the account of Ramos’ employment record. Even if it was true, he said, “nothing in their version of events would justify denying José his wages for hours worked. As employers, they have a responsibility to pay their workers.”
Lambek said the alleged failure to pay Ramos is “not an isolated incident” and that other migrant workers have reported similar treatment by Goodrich Family Farm. “We stand by our call that the farm pay back the stolen wages and apologize for assaulting José and the Migrant Justice employee,” he said.
Goodrich declined to comment on the alleged assault, saying the family was consulting with an attorney. He described the picket line that showed up at the farm Saturday was an effort by Migrant Justice to publicize the group’s “agenda.”
” The more appropriate venue would be our established legal channels,” he said. “If necessary, we will bring this case to the Vermont court of law, to present our case based on concrete evidence.”