ToDaZeD CA *facepalm*

All Your Labor Are Belong to Teh State.

A small-time vintner’s use of volunteer workers has put him out of business after the state squeezed him like a late-summer grape for $115,000 in fines — and sent a chill through the wine industry.

The volunteers, some of them learning to make wine while helping out, were illegally unpaid laborers, and Westover Winery should have been paying them and paying worker taxes, the state Department of Industrial Relations said.

…[The winery] nets about $11,000 a year

No word on whether or not The State will allow it if you are charging people to “help out.” Like at a dude ranch…

So now you know: Free Citizens [*bitter laff*] are not allowed by The State to choose how they sell/give their own labor.

All for a coupla bucks in employee taxes.

[“Peter Melton [Industrial Relations, Information Officer I (specialist), $63,200.00/yr*], a spokesman for the state] “These are not idle things. People should be paid for their labor. The workers’ compensation violations are very serious. What happens if someone has a catastrophic injury at the winery?” he asked. [it’s called “Insurance”, PeteyBoy; everyone who has the public on their property has it]

And, he added, “It isn’t faiiiir to wineries that are paying their employees to have to compete against for-profit wineries that do not.”

The law does not allow for warnings, Melton said. If Department of Industrial Relations representatives see violations, he said, they are required to issue citations.

Aside: Check Mr Melton’s work History here. Then all those of you in private industry raise your hands if you can match or beat his pay-raise history.


  1. Fawkes News (Fun Lovin' Thought Criminal)
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 9:44 am |

    See who buys the property. Then follow the campaign contributions.

  2. SondraK, Queen of SondraKistan
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 10:27 am |

    As one who is helpful to friends and neighbors etc I’m wondering how much back pay my neighbor now owes me for taking out and returning her garbage and recycling for the last 5 years……

  3. Caged Insanity
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 10:44 am |

    Fawkes nailed it. This was a political move, to be sure.

  4. geezerette
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 10:57 am |

    People should be paid (payroll tax) for their labor and they should have to join a union (dues).
    PWHNU—————-for Sondra thats the people who help/work for neighbors union.

  5. Paul Moore
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 11:07 am |

    I just helped my galpal put a roof on her house. Should I send a bill?

  6. Paladin
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 11:34 am |

    It isn’t faiiiir to wineries that are paying illegal laborers to have to compete against small for-profit wineries that have legal laborers and volunteers.

  7. Caged Insanity
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 11:50 am |

    Basically, big labor and the US Govt. are starting the ball rolling here where you cannot freely give of your own good will.

    Volunteering will essentially be made illegal (purely because it is not taxable)

  8. JoeBandMember ≠
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 11:56 am |

    Just call them interns. Even WA State does that.

  9. DougM (paleface™)
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm |

    But if the “workers” had paid a little tuition as “students,”
    the vinyard would be in line for gov’t grants.

  10. mojo
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm |

    Yeah, in a lot of agencies, managers got a 40% raise. The workers they manage? 2%

  11. dick, not quite dead white guy
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm |

    Didn’t Pelosi swing an exemption for that sort of thing at one of her and her husband’s businesses – in American Samoa, maybe?

  12. Ironic in Denver
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm |

    Let’s not kid ourselves. This isn’t about unpaid wages. It’s about unpaid “taxes” plus the desperate need to regulate everything. Plus, of course, what Fawkes said.

    However, I do have two questions:
    1) Would this have happened if the workers had been illegal aliens* who were getting paid a pittance in cash with not taxes paid at all?
    2) What’s this going to do to volunteering down at the soup kitchen?

    * Yeah, yeah, racist!

  13. Jeff
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm |

    This is long but seems relevent: