As of the writing of this article, we’ve had at least 10 gins have Wage and Hour investigations in the region. AL, NC, SC and GA offices all have investigations started or have sent notice requesting the gin to gather information to begin an investigation. So far all of these investigations have been virtual…or at least they’re starting that way.
Mike Rios, the head of enforcement in the region recently stated at the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Labor Relations Forum, that they are doing most of their investigations virtually but that hasn’t stopped from many either beginning as in-person or moving to in-person during the course of the investigation. So, don’t think you’re out of the woods with a virtual investigation.
We’re often asked what to expect. In these days with virtual investigations, we’re not 100% sure. I can tell you what typically happens during a on-site investigation and since the desired outcome is the same, it would follow that they’re going to try to get to the same information and areas virtually. This puts even more pressure on you as the employer. Most of what I’m going to mention is speculation so treat it as such.
Well, its been a while since we’ve put anything on the blog. It’s not that we’ve been lazy its just that it seems like this is the season that just doesn’t want to get started. Very little has been ginned in the region and as I write this, we are trying to dry out from a good bit of rain that moved through the region and we are awaiting Hurricane Zeta to make landfall.
It seems we have a fair number of new folks running gins this year and we’ve gotten a few calls on some similar issues in the past few weeks. One of the issues I’ve gotten questions on is forward contracts and on-call contracts. I really didn’t expect much in the way of questions on contracting and it certainly isn’t my forte. Of all years, we seem to have the least amount of contracted cotton out there this year which is why I didn’t expect many.
First of all, I’m not an attorney and nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice. I’m just putting this out there for educational purposes and hopefully to make sure no one gets caught by something in a contract. Everyone should go into these agreements with eyes open. We cannot review a contract to help you understand it. That is legal advice. Attorneys get paid a lot more than we do for a reason.
It’s with a heavy heart that we pass along the news of the passing of Jerry Davis, recently retired, of the Heart of Georgia Gin in Hawkinsville. Jerry was a long time and strong supporter of this association and loved the ginning industry. When you talked to Jerry his eyes would light up about cotton. Jerry will be laid to rest this Sunday, October 11 at 2PM with services being held at the Broad Street Baptist Church in Hawkinsville. Clark Funeral Home in Hawkinsville are handling the arrangements.
Due to popular demand AND a hiccup in the recording of the first Webinar, National Cotton Ginners and Travis Vance with Fisher and Phillips have graciously agreed to hold their Covid-19 webinar again. This webinar lasts about an hour and Travis will go over many aspects of Covid concerns for cotton gins.
The webinar will be this Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 8:00AM Eastern Time. This will be a zoom webinar and you can access it at https://cotton.zoom.us/j/91411371982 . If you missed the first webinar, we hope you’ll be able to make this one. Give us a call if you have questions.
UPDATE – LINK TO RECORDING HERE
The Coronavirus situation has really gotten in everyone’s way. Organizations such as ours are just as affected as most businesses are. Our State Meetings this year are no exception. We’ve decided to make them all virtual. Weighing potential exposure to our members, many of whom are in vulnerable populations, with the desire to get together is not a task we have taken lightly. Although the likelihood of exposure is low and the and the severity of Covid is mild for the majority of the population, it does have a very bad outcome for some. It is out of an abundance of caution that we have made this move.
We are going to conduct four Zoom calls just like we do the state meetings in person. Andy and I will give you updates on various topics ranging from Wage and Hour, to Covid, to Safety programs and anything else that comes up.