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N. Mich. farm will fight lawsuit over pay, housing

KALEVA, Mich. (AP) -- The federal government is accusing a northern Michigan farm of failing to pay minimum wage to workers who picked asparagus, strawberries and cucumbers last year.

The Labor Department says Grossnickle Farms in Manistee County classified the workers as independent contractors and paid them on a piece rate, which added up to less than minimum wage. The government filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court.

The farm also is accused of providing poor housing for migrant workers, partly by failing to provide adequate hot water and clean bathrooms. Grossnickle Farms is in Kaleva, 130 miles north of Grand Rapids.

The farm's operators dispute the allegations and say they'll fight the lawsuit.

Corinne Grossnickle says any housing violations have been corrected. She says a $4,000 hot water heater was installed.