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Labor officials keeping eye on Fla. growers

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WINTER GARDEN, FL -  A worker picks oranges on a tree in a commercial grove.(Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images)

WINTER GARDEN, FL – A worker picks oranges on a tree in a commercial grove.(Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images)

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LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Federal labor officials have a warning for growers in central Florida: pay farmworkers fair wages.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Labor said Wednesday that they will be monitoring the pay farmworkers receive this citrus season.

Labor officials say investigations during last year’s harvest found failures to pay laborers for all the hours they worked, rates of pay below the hourly minimum wage and failures to inform workers of the terms of employment.

The agency says it has fined growers more than $685,000 and recovered back wages of more than $150,000 in the past year.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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