Latest News

Below are our latest news on important news and events relating to policy changes and issues affecting farmworkers and their families.

July 31, 2014

Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein participated in a White House press conference Thursday where President Obama signed a new Executive Order governing labor practices by federal contractors that could benefit American farmworkers, whose existing labor protections are often violated.

The President’s Executive Order requires prospective federal contractors to disclose findings of labor law violations and gives agencies more guidance on how to consider labor violations when awarding federal contracts. Because the federal government is a major purchaser of food for school lunch and other programs, the order could reach into the fields and ranches supplying big food contractors, where workers often are victims of wage theft and work in illegally unsafe circumstances.

The Executive Order includes the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the principal federal employment law for farmworkers. In addition, the EO applies to certain subcontractors, which can mean that when a wholesaler of produce is the government contractor, the grower that supplies the produce to the wholesaler may be subject to monitoring for violations of labor protections.

“We believe the President’s Executive Order, while no substitute for needed congressional action raising the minimum wage, is an important step forward in protecting workers, including those in agriculture. Government contractors and their subcontractors should comply with labor protections. We applaud President Obama for taking these needed steps,” said Goldstein.

July 30, 2014

The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture held a hearing today on the Labor Department’s enforcement of the minimum wage for farmworkers using the so-called “hot goods” section of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Some grower groups and Congressional allies are pressing to exclude perishable vegetables and fruit from coverage under the FLSA’s hot goods section.

July 23, 2014

Re "Airport, ACLU tussle over ads" (Our Region, July 21): The decision of Sacramento International Airport to not run the informational ads of the California Endowment regarding denial of health care coverage for undocumented immigrants is unjust and deplorable. As a longtime resident of Sacramento and a frequent user of the airport, I applaud the endowment for its efforts to provide factual statements on behalf of those who make considerable economic contributions to our region and state, yet are denied access to health care coverage.

How can we in good faith claim our region to be the farm-to-fork capital when the very people who plant, harvest, pick and pack our food are so unfairly treated? This is a critical public health and food safety issue that ultimately affects us all.

The only controversy I see here is the ignorance of airport officials for not allowing the shameful truth to be on public display.

-- Mario Gutierrez, Sacramento