Press

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

2014 Press Releases

  • Rural House Members Pressure Labor Department to Stop Enforcing ‘Hot Goods’ Provision on Farm Produce
    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. The subcommittee is led by members from farming districts: Chairman Austin Scott (R-GA) and Ranking Member Kurt Schrader (D-OR).
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  • President Obama Plans Action in Response to Speaker Boehner’s Refusal to Call a Vote on Immigration Reform
    June 30, 2014
    Today, President Obama announced that he will take executive action to reform our immigration system. The President’s remarks came after House Speaker Boehner told him that the House would not pursue a vote this year on much-needed immigration reform. This refusal to address our immigration crisis hurts our economy and the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, including 1 million or more farmworkers. “Farmworker Justice commends the President’s commitment to take administrative action to reform our broken immigration system.
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  • Rep. McCarthy Must Use His New Role as Majority Leader to Tackle Immigration Reform
    June 19, 2014
    Today, House Republicans elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as their new majority leader, a position that gives him the power to bring long-stalled comprehensive immigration reform to the floor for a vote. “Rep. McCarthy represents one of the most important agricultural areas of our country, which suffers under our broken immigration system,” said Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice.
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  • Victory for Washington State Berry Pickers as Sakuma Brothers Farms Withdraws its Application for H-2A Guestworkers
    June 03, 2014
    Washington State berry grower Sakuma Brothers Farms has withdrawn its application asking the federal government to allow it to employ as many as 438 foreign H-2A “guest workers” to harvest its berries this season. Sakuma had made the application after the company’s domestic workers formed an organization last year, “Familias Unidas Por la Justicia” (Families United for Justice), in order to bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions. Farmworker Justice opposed the application, on behalf of the Familias Unidas workers, in administrative proceedings before the U.S.
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  • Groups Challenge EPA Failure to Protect Children from Pesticides
    May 30, 2014
    Environmental, health, and farmworker advocacy groups filed an Administrative Objection and a court appeal this week, challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) refusal to quickly correct errors in pesticide registrations and its refusal to immediately implement protective measures to safeguard children from exposure to dangerous pesticides that drift from fields during and after application.
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  • Consumers File Lawsuit against Darigold, Inc. for Misleading Marketing Claims
    May 06, 2014
    Citing deceptive business practices, consumers filed a federal class action lawsuit against Darigold, an agricultural marketing cooperative that is one of the largest dairy producers in the country with more than 500 participating farms and total annual sales of almost $2 billion dollars. In the filing, the plaintiffs claim Darigold misrepresents the way its member suppliers treat both animals and workers, in marketing materials and the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report.
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  • Washington State Berry Farm Seeks to Displace Domestic Workers with Foreign Workers
    April 25, 2014
    Lawyers and advocates for farmworkers have asked the U.S. Department of Labor to block a large Washington state berry producer from displacing hundreds of domestic workers with foreign guest workers brought in under the federal government’s temporary foreign agricultural worker program, known as the “H-2A” program. H-2A workers are vulnerable to abusive employer practices and fearful of challenging unfair or illegal conduct because they hold only a temporary visa to work for a single employer and return home at the end of the season with no promise of being hired in a future year.
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  • U.S. and Mexico Labor Secretaries Meet to Discuss Guestworker Abuses
    April 03, 2014
    Thomas Perez, U.S. Secretary of Labor, and Alfonso Navarrete Prida, Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare for Mexico, will meet face-to-face for the first time. They will engage in ministerial consultations and sign a joint declaration pursuant to the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC), the labor side accord to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
  • EPA fails again to protect children from pesticide drift
    April 02, 2014
    Earlier this week, EPA announced their response to a lawsuit pressing them to better protect children from health-harming pesticides that drift from fields in rural areas. Meeting a legal deadline, the agency acknowledged “children may experience higher levels of pesticide exposure relative to their size than do adults," and that EPA had failed to consider drift by a 2006 deadline under the Food Quality Protection Act, but they declined to make any significant changes to their current plans, insisting that the current approach to addressing and regulating pesticides drift is good enough.
  • EPA fails again to protect children from pesticide drift
    April 02, 2014
    Earlier this week, EPA announced their response to a lawsuit pressing them to better protect children from health-harming pesticides that drift from fields in rural areas. Meeting a legal deadline, the agency acknowledged “children may experience higher levels of pesticide exposure relative to their size than do adults," and that EPA had failed to consider drift by a 2006 deadline under the Food Quality Protection Act, but they declined to make any significant changes to their current plans, insisting that the current approach to addressing and regulating pesticides drift is good enough.
  • Farmworker Justice Supports House Democrats’ Discharge Petition to Prompt House to Act on Immigration
    March 27, 2014
  • Farmworker Justice’s Statement on the HEAL Immigrant Women & Families Act
    March 14, 2014
    Farmworker Justice applauds Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s (NM) introduction of The Health Equity & Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women & Families Act. The HEAL Immigrant Women & Families Act would reduce barriers to accessing healthcare for certain immigrant populations.
  • New Safeguards Seek to Protect Farmworkers from Pesticides
    February 20, 2014
    The EPA today proposed strengthening the Worker Protection Standard, which has not been updated in more than twenty years, to address many agricultural pesticide safety concerns. “Each year pesticide exposure poisons tens of thousands of the men, women and children who harvest our food, yet regulations to protect these vital workers have not been updated to address this growing problem,” said Virginia Ruiz, Director of Occupational and Environmental Health for Farmworker Justice.
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  • House Republican Immigration Principles Are a Step Forward, But Still Incomplete
    January 31, 2014
    The House Republicans’ immigration reform principles are an encouraging step forward in the necessary process to address a broken immigration system. But they mistakenly neglect the importance of opening up a path for hard-working immigrant families already in this country to become full participants in their communities and our country through citizenship. The best way to ensure a strong and stable work force for American agriculture is through legal protection on the job and in communities for the roughly one million undocumented farmworkers already here and on the job.
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  • Farmworker Organizations Applaud Progress on Updating Weak Worker Protections
    January 30, 2014
    Farmworkers and their advocates welcomed news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will soon propose revisions to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS), which provides minimal workplace protections against pesticide exposures for farmworkers. A coalition of farmworker, public health, and other non-partisan organizations has long urged the EPA to include stronger protections for farmworkers in the WPS.

2013 Press Releases

  • New Report Outlines History of AWPA, Farmworkers’ Poor Conditions and Recommendations for Achieving the Law’s Goals
    December 12, 2013
    Thirty years after passage of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (“AWPA” or “MSPA”), a new report issued today says the law has proven critically important to preventing wage theft and dangerous working and living conditions for many farmworkers across the country. However, the report by Farmworker Justice calls for enhanced labor protections in the law and regulations and for stronger enforcement by the Department of Labor.
  • House Speaker Boehner’s Refusal to Move Forward on Immigration Reform is Unacceptable
    November 14, 2013
    Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters that he would not consider the bipartisan Senate immigration reform legislation passed in June, saying: “We have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.” Farmworker Justice urges Boehner to recognize the far-reaching consequences of this refusal, which is profoundly disappointing and a missed opportunity to strengthen the agricultural economy.
  • EPA Proposes New Worker Protections for Pesticide Safety Following Pressure from Farmworker Advocates
    November 11, 2013
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took important steps this week to revise protections for farmworkers exposed to pesticides by submitting an updated Worker Protection Standard to the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) for review. Pesticide exposure causes farmworkers to suffer more chemical-related injuries and illnesses than any other sector of the workforce nationwide.
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  • More than 200 Organizations Sign on to Letter Opposing Rep. Goodlatte’s Immigration Bill
    October 15, 2013
    Farmworker Justice and the United Farm Workers, with more than 200 other organizations, sent a letter to House members today stating their opposition to the anti-immigrant and anti-worker approach to immigration reform in Representative Bob Goodlatte’s Agricultural Guestworker Act, HR 1773. “We strongly oppose Chairman Goodlatte’s HR 1773 as an unworkable, anti-immigrant and anti-worker approach to our nation’s immigration problems.
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  • Washington Rancher and Western Range Association Agree to Settle Workers’ Charges of Abuse and Exploitation
    October 15, 2013
    Sheep rancher Max Fernandez and the Western Range Association (“WRA”) have settled a federal lawsuit brought by three workers charging Fernandez and WRA with wage violations and accusing Fernandez of violations of federal labor trafficking laws. The settlement provides the workers with a total of $110,000, covering their unpaid wages, damages from the trafficking violations, and attorney fees.
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  • Immigration Reform Advocates, including Farmworker Justice President, Arrested on Capitol Hill Today
    October 08, 2013
    Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein was one of 200 representatives of immigrant rights groups arrested today on Capitol Hill during the March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect. The event brought together tens of thousands of individuals and families who called on Congress to address our broken immigration system that affects millions. “Actions like today’s are necessary to send a strong message to members of Congress that their inaction on immigration reform has dire consequences,” said Goldstein.
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  • Farmworker Justice to Join Thousands on National Mall for Immigration Reform
    October 07, 2013
    On October 8th, Farmworker Justice’s President Bruce Goldstein will join tens of thousands of individuals and families in the “Camino Americano” on the National Mall. The rally, concert and march will draw attention to Congress’ failure to address our broken immigration system that affects millions. The event culminates a weekend of actions in 89 cities in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. “Immigration reform is an issue that has dire consequences for millions of people,” said Goldstein.
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  • Farmworker Justice Applauds House Democrats’ Effort to Advance Immigration Reform
    October 02, 2013
    Farmworker Justice today praised the introduction of a comprehensive immigration reform bill by House Democrats to build momentum to reform the country’s broken immigration system. Bruce Goldstein, the president of Farmworker Justice, said the bill builds constructively upon measures included in the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate with broad support. “Every day many farmworkers live and work in fear, unable to secure their immigration status and experiencing employer and other discrimination.
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  • EPA Failure to Address Discrimination of California Latino Schoolchildren: Lawsuit Filed to Remedy EPA’s Civil Rights Program
    August 29, 2013
    More than a decade after Latino parents filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detailing the dangerous levels of pesticides at Latino public schools throughout California, they continue to experience racial discrimination. In August of 2011 EPA found that California Latino schoolchildren suffer disproportionately from exposure to pesticides and due to spraying near their schools, the EPA has yet to remedy this discrimination.
  • Advocates Challenge EPA’s Continuing Failure to Protect Children and Families From Hazardous Pesticide Drift
    July 25, 2013
    On July 24th, a coalition of farmworker, public health, and conservation advocates filed a challenge in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect children from unsafe exposures to toxic pesticides. The suit seeks an answer to a petition that the advocates filed with the agency in 2009, urging EPA to set safety standards protecting children who grow up near farms from the harmful effects of pesticide drift.
    Read Article: Public interest groups urge immediate pesticide protections in areas where children live, learn and play
  • New Farmworker Justice Report Profiles Dangers of Pesticide Poisoning & Offers Recommendations for EPA Action
    July 15, 2013
    Exposed and Ignored: How Pesticides are Endangering Our Nation’s Farmworkers provides an overview of the harm caused to farmworkers across the country by pesticide exposure, including personal stories of workers and their families who have suffered serious illnesses.
  • Senate Immigration Compromise: A Step Forward for Farmworkers
    June 27, 2013
    Farmworker Justice Statement Following Senate Passage of Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act “We’re one step closer to fixing our broken immigration policy and modernizing agricultural labor relations,” the president of Farmworker Justice said today after the Senate approved the compromise immigration reform bill by a vote of 68-32. “This carefully negotiated bill won broad support in part because it includes tough compromises made by agricultural workers and employers.
  • Guestworker Bill Approved by House Judiciary Committee Is Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Worker
    June 21, 2013
    The House Judiciary Committee narrowly passed an amended version of the “Agricultural Guestworker Act” sponsored by Committee Chair Robert Goodlatte (R-VA). This legislation is fundamentally anti-immigrant and anti-worker and will make life worse for hundreds of thousands of farmworkers already in this country, many of them U.S.
  • Farmworker Justice Statement on Rep. Goodlatte’s Immigration Bill Markup by House Committee on Judiciary
    June 19, 2013
    Legislation likely to be approved by the House Judiciary Committee today will make life worse for hundreds of thousands of farmworkers – many of them U.S. citizens – already in this country and working in the fields, while denying current undocumented farmworkers a road map to citizenship and destabilizing the country’s farm labor force, the president of Farmworker Justice said today. “The Agricultural Guestworker Act (HR 1773) sponsored by Rep.
  • New Farmworker Justice Report Profiles Americans Working in Agriculture
    June 18, 2013
    A new report profiling American farmworkers and their stories dispels the myth that U.S. workers do not take jobs as farmworkers. The report titled, "Who Works the Fields? The Stories of Americans Who Feed Us" offers a sampling of stories from both U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents working on farms. Although a majority of farmworkers today are undocumented immigrants, there are hundreds of thousands of legally authorized U.S.
  • Farmworker Justice Statement on the Senate Judiciary Committee Passing S.744
    May 22, 2013
    The Senate Judiciary Committee finished debating and amending the immigration bill drafted by the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Eight.” The Committee then voted to approve and send to the floor of the Senate the amended version of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S.744.
  • Agricultural Guestworker Act Would Harm Farmworkers and Aggravate Existing Problems in Agricultural Labor
    May 16, 2013
    Following a subcommittee hearing of the House Judiciary Committee focused on the implications of H.R. 1773, the “Agricultural Guestworker Act,” sponsored by Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein made the following statement: “This bill will only serve to magnify the dysfunction in our current system and deserves no serious consideration.
  • Rep. Goodlatte’s Immigration Bill Undermines Bipartisan Compromise and Would Harm Farmworkers
    April 26, 2013
    Following the introduction of a the Agricultural Guestworker Act by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein made the following statement: “Despite widespread recognition of the need for comprehensive reform legislation to fix our broken immigration system, Rep. Goodlatte has offered piecemeal legislation that will only aggravate the unfairness and dysfunction in our current system.
  • Immigration Reform Proposal Includes Important Protections for Farmworkers
    April 22, 2013
    Following a hearing today of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein issued the following statement: “We are encouraged by the framework of the Senate bill that would fix our nation’s broken immigration policies and provide a path to citizenship for farmworkers and their families.
  • Immigration Policy Reform Should Respect Rights of U.S. Farmworkers
    April 17, 2013
    Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein issued the following statement following the introduction of the Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 that would reform U.S. immigration policy: “We are optimistic about the framework of this agreement and applaud the bipartisan work in the Senate to fix our nation’s broken immigration policies.
  • Farmworker Justice Statement on Agreement Regarding Agricultural Worker Piece of Immigration Reform
    April 12, 2013
    Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein issued the following statement following the announcement of the broad outline of an agreement among a key group of Senators, agricultural employers and the United Farm Workers on provisions that are expected to be included in a comprehensive immigration bill and would reform U.S. immigration policy regarding farmworkers: “As details for an agreement continue to emerge, we will review the proposal.
  • Farmworker Justice Welcomes First Senate Hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
    February 13, 2013
    Farmworker Justice praises the Senate Judiciary Committee for moving forward with a hearing to address the issue of immigration reform. Farmworker Justice urged the Senate to act quickly to pass legislation to reform our broken immigration system and create a roadmap to citizenship for eleven million aspiring Americans, including many of the workers on our farms and ranches.
  • Farmworker Justice Praises President Obama’s Commitment to Pass Immigration Reform
    January 29, 2013
    Farmworker Justice, a national advocacy organization for the rights of farmworkers, today praised President Barack Obama’s call to action on immigration reform.Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice, made the following statement:"With the announcement yesterday of a bipartisan group of Senators and today’s speech by President Obama, momentum is building to pass immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship.Our nation depends on the hard labor of farmworkers to cultivate and harvest our crops.
  • Farmworker Justice Statement on Bipartisan Senate Immigration Principles
    January 28, 2013
    Farmworker Justice commends efforts by eight Senators to reach an immigration policy solution that would grant a road map to citizenship for eleven million undocumented people in this country. "After years of delay that have harmed farmworkers and their families, we see the potential for positive immigration reform but recognize that much work lies ahead to achieve legislation that respects the people who grow and harvest our fruits and vegetables," said Farmworker Justice’s President Bruce Goldstein.

Farmworker Justice

  • Snapshots of an Extraordinary Year: Farmworker Justice Releases 2012 Annual Report
    August 01, 2013
    We are pleased to share our 2012 accomplishments and the stories of a few of the many farmworkers whose challenges and aspirations drive our work. Farmworkers, their families, and communities face serious challenges every day. Farmworker Justice is a national voice in the fight against farmworker abuse, poverty, and health risks. We lead programs that bring ethical standards to America's farms--protecting the hands that feed us-- and create policy changes on Capitol Hill.

Letters to the Editor and OpEds

  • Airport wrong on immigrant health ads: Farmworker Justice Board of Directors Vice Chair's Letter to the Editor
    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.
    Read Article: Sacramento Bee Letter to Editor: Airport wrong on immigrant health ads
  • NYT Letter to the Editor: Beyond Foodie--It's About Values
    July 01, 2014
    Mark Bittman’s column raises the important point that those who profess to care about “good” food must consider the structure and failings of our food system. This includes not only nutritional content and sustainability of production, but also the treatment of the people who plant and harvest the food for our tables. There are about 2.5 million farmworkers across the country, at least half of them undocumented immigrants. These workers labor under difficult and dangerous conditions every day, vulnerable to weather, pesticide poisoning and employer abuse.
    Read Article: Beyond Foodie: It's About Our Values
  • Miami Herald OpEd: Life as an undocumented farmworker
    April 09, 2014
    This week in Washington, immigrant groups are protesting the Obama administration’s deportation of immigrants — 2 million, they say, in five years. They want it to stop until Congress finishes passing immigration reform. Here is what it’s like to be an undocumented farm worker, as told (using a pseudonym) by a migrant worker in Florida. It has been nearly 20 years since I left Mexico and came to Florida — two decades of hard work without getting ahead that much.
    Read Article: Miami Herald OpEd: Life as an undocumented farmworker
  • The Hill OpEd: Don’t weaken labor law’s ‘hot goods’ provision
    December 04, 2013
    The U.S. Department of Labor sometimes, has relied on the so-called “hot goods” provision in the federal minimum wage law, to request a federal court order barring not only the employer who has paid less than the minimum wage, but also any other businesses (such as packing sheds or food brokers) that have possession of the goods, from shipping those goods in interstate commerce.
    Read Article: The Hill: Don’t weaken labor law’s ‘hot goods’ provision
  • Miami Herald OpEd: Don’t weaken fair labor standards
    November 15, 2013
    This Miami Herald op-ed by labor historian Peter Cole argues against depriving agricultural workers of an important tool to enforce the minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The U.S. Department of Labor may request a court to issue an injunction to stop the sale or shipment of goods produced in violation of the minimum wage, overtime, or child labor requirements.
    Read Article: Miami Herald OpEd: Don’t weaken fair labor standards
  • Citizenship path: Letter to the Editor in Houston Chronicle
    September 30, 2013
    Regarding "Do something!", the editorial correctly admits that comprehensive immigration reform is the only way to truly solve the labor problems that we face in agriculture, but it fails to sufficiently address the underlying flaws with any guestworker program, including the one you applaud in Canada.
    Read Article: Read full article at Houston Chronicle: Farmworker Citizen Path
  • Op Ed in Napa Valley Register: Rep. Thompson’s opportunity to move agriculture in right direction
    September 23, 2013
    As the debate over our nation’s immigration policy takes center stage, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) of Napa County has the opportunity to help shape a new national immigration policy that improves conditions for farmworkers, agricultural employers, and consumers in California and across the country. In early 2013, representatives of agricultural workers and employers, working with a bipartisan quartet of senators that included California’s Sen.
    Read Article: Read full OpEd on Napa Valley Register
  • Farmworker Justice OpEd: Rep. Gibson (NY) Has A Choice
    August 21, 2013
    As the debate over immigration policy takes center stage and lawmakers in the Senate pursue the hard work of compromise, Rep.Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, has a choice. He can support immigration policy that improves conditions for farmworkers, agricultural employers and consumers, or he can aggravate existing problems in the agricultural labor market and displace thousands of farmworkers, many of them U.S. citizens.
    Read Article: Times Union Web Version of "No Way to Treat 'Guests"
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch Op-Ed by Bruce Goldstein: Goodlatte Bill moves agriculture in wrong direction
    July 01, 2013
    In the Richmond Times-Dispatch Saturday, there are two op-eds regarding agricultural worker immigration policy and the Agricultural Guestworker Act, authored by Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA), and passed by the House Judiciary Committee. In the first op-ed, Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein criticizes that bill’s approach and calls for a path to citizenship for undocumented farmworkers and reasonable protections under guestworker programs. Rep. Goodlatte's bill is the worst of all worlds in that it is anti-U.S. worker, anti-immigrant, and anti-worker. The second op-ed is by Rep.
    Read Article: Richmond Times-Dispatch: Goldstein: Bill moves agriculture in wrong direction
  • Farmworker Justice's NY Times Letter to the Editor: Deplorable Labor Practices of Some U.S. Farmers
    May 14, 2013
    “U.S. Workers Sue as Big Farms Rely on Immigrants” (front page, May 7), about race bias on farms in Georgia, unveils the self-serving stereotypes many farmers use as a justification for deplorable labor practices.Guest workers’ “nonimmigrant” status allows growers to abuse guest workers to protect their bottom lines, an option generally not available to other private employers. These programs serve as a barrier for domestic agricultural workers while depressing wages and working conditions for the entire work force.
    Read Article: Original New York Times Link