Dixie Belle Peaches, Inc. is one of the largest peach farms in South Carolina and has acquired a reputation of operating a ‘modern-day and plantation-style environment.’ Unfortunately, the term ‘modern-day plantation’ includes modern-day slavery.
Early this summer, D.B. Peaches contracted local ‘produce managers’ from temporary employment services to operate 120 peach stands. These PMs were mostly low-income single mothers and elderly men and women who were guaranteed a set salary plus any commission earned from the sales of the peaches. However, just two weeks after the peach stands started operating, the PMs were notified via a hand-delivered letter signed by D.B. Peaches president Jimmy Forrester that the compensation plan had been changed and was already in effect. This new plan eliminated the hourly pay rate and based pay entirely upon commissions- far below the salary they were promised.
Since this notification, most of the PMs have been forced to leave the company, citing lack of regular, living wages. Indeed, several PMs are still owed compensation for the two weeks prior to the change and have had to take matters into their own hands by waiting outside the offices of D.B. Peaches for days on end until they receive their checks.
The U.S. and South Carolina Labor Departments are not legally bound to assist these PMs since they were hired as ‘independent contractors.’ Therefore, they are not considered employees of D.B. Peaches and thus do not fall under the guidelines or regulations of state or federal labor laws. Several former PMs have already begun the process of filing civil lawsuits against D.B. Peaches.
Please join us in signing this petition to demand that D.B. Peaches pay their former employees the full compensation that is owed to them immediately and tell them that modern-day slavery will NOT be accepted.