Latest News

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

February 07, 2019

Farmworker Justice Strongly Supports the “Fairness for Farm Workers Act of 2019” on Overtime Pay and the Minimum Wage

Farmworker Justice applauds Senator Harris and Representative Grijalva for their leadership in the introduction of the “Fairness for Farm Workers Act of 2019.” The bill would end the discriminatory denial of overtime pay and most remaining minimum wage exemptions for farmworkers.

As stated by Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein, “We are pleased to support Sen. Harris’s and Rep. Grijalva’s Fairness for Farm Workers Act, which would right a historical wrong by ensuring farmworkers have equal rights to minimum wage and overtime protections. It is long past time for farmworkers to receive basic and fair compensation for the difficult and dangerous work that they do, for long hours, day in and day out, to feed our country. National legislation is necessary. Right now, amidst state-level efforts to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, some legislatures have discriminatorily denied farmworkers the improvements that would apply to other workers. Congress should pass legislation to finally grant farmworkers equal labor protections in recognition of their essential and valuable role in our economic and food security.”

Eighty years after the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), farmworkers should not still suffer exclusion from many of the basic workplace protections that other Americans take for granted. Yet, the FLSA still denies farmworkers time-and-a-half pay after 40 hours per week.  Even though most farmworkers were added to the minimum wage in 1966, it is inapplicable to certain agricultural employers. The Fairness for Farm Workers Act would remedy the discriminatory denial of overtime pay and the minimum wage to farmworkers under the FLSA and would put farmworkers on the same footing as most other workers.

Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. that empowers farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions.

February 7, 2019 www.farmworkerjustice.org

Contact: Adrienne DerVartanian, [email protected]

February 07, 2019

Farmworker Justice Strongly Supports the “Fairness for Farm Workers Act of 2019” on Overtime Pay and the Minimum Wage

Farmworker Justice applauds Senator Harris and Representative Grijalva for their leadership in the introduction of the “Fairness for Farm Workers Act of 2019.” The bill would end the discriminatory denial of overtime pay and most remaining minimum wage exemptions for farmworkers.

February 01, 2019

Below is a press release issued yesterday on the New Jersey legislature's decision to exclude farmworkers from the gradual increase to a $15 minimum wage.  You can take action: send a message to the Governor via email at https://nj.gov/governor/contact/all/  and phone at 1-609-292-6000, and tweet @govmurphy.  Join the tweet storm today 1pmET @farmwrkrjustice  @CATAMigrantes @ufwupdates


Contact:  Bruce Goldstein, President                                                             January 31, 2019

Farmworker Justice 202-293-5420 ext. 304

[email protected]

Farmworker Justice Asks New Jersey Governor Murphy to Reject the Minimum Wage Legislation’s Discrimination Against Farmworkers

Farmworker Justice criticized today’s votes in the New Jersey Assembly and Senate on excluding farmworkers from the legislation that would guarantee a gradual rise in the minimum wage to $15 per hour.  Under the bill, farmworkers are not treated like most other workers who would receive the $15 minimum wage by 2024. Nor are they treated like the small-business’s employees or seasonal workers whose minimum wage will rise to $15 by 2026.  Farm operators, no matter how large, would only need to pay their farmworkers $12.50 an hour by 2024. After that government officials would decide how farmworkers are treated.

“The Governor should send the legislation back and tell the politicians to treat farmworkers equally with other workers.  They work in a dangerous job to put food on our tables. Inflicting sub-poverty wages on farmworker families for the next five years is unconscionable,” said Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice, a national advocacy organization.   

New Jersey’s minimum wage law hasn’t been discriminating recently and shouldn’t start now. 

The proposed compromise is out of step with the labor market, even for this low-paid occupation.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Labor Survey of field and livestock workers, in the region that includes New Jersey (along with Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania), the average wage for farmworkers during 2018 was $13.15 per hour.  Yet, five years from now, the pending proposal would set the minimum wage for farmworkers at a mere $12.50 an hour.   

A low minimum wage also harms many law-abiding, reasonable agricultural businesses that are trying to do the right thing by treating farmworkers with respect and compensating them fairly but compete against low-road businesses.

Goldstein added, “New Jersey’s elected leaders should demonstrate respect for the valuable role played by farmworkers who feed us and should not deprive farmworkers of the same rights as other workers. Farmworkers should have the same access to a guaranteed $15 minimum wage as other workers.”