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H-2A Sheepherders File Sherman Act Class Action: Alvarado v. WRA

June 06, 2022 (1 min read)

Leah Douglas, Reuters, June 2, 2022

"Sheep herders in the U.S. West have banded together to sue their employers, accusing them of operating an illegal cartel that artificially suppresses their wages, according to court documents filed Wednesday in Nevada. The case could have implications for how antitrust laws are applied to labor markets, according to legal experts, as the Biden administration pushes for greater competition in every sector of the economy. ... Sheepherders are typically men from rural Peru who come to the United States on agricultural H-2A visas and live in isolated areas, according to the complaint. Their wages have stagnated even as pay for other agricultural labor has risen in recent years, the complaint said. ... An earlier version of the suit was dismissed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 2017 because the court said the herders had not sufficiently proven collusion. Several antitrust experts have argued the case was wrongly decided."