Farmworker Justice’s Letter to the Editor: Pay more, get more workers

Matt O'Brien's recent article on a perceived agricultural labor shortage ("California farmers fear labor shortage," Aug. 1) shies away from presenting the most obvious solution to the problem. Farmers, like employers in any other industry, should work to attract and retain a productive workforce by offering improved wages and working conditions.

Growers are notorious for complaining of worker shortages as part of a larger campaign to relax the minimal protections that exist for farmworkers. Instead, growers should recognize that workers are their most important asset and treat them as such.

Recently, growers have advocated for an expansion of the foreign guest worker program for agriculture. But that's far from the solution our country needs. Instead of recruiting an army of guest workers who lack the rights and protections of U.S. citizens, we should enable current undocumented farmworkers and guest workers with a road map to legal residency and citizenship.

Bruce Goldstein
President, Farmworker Justice Washington, D.C.

August 8, 2012

Contra Costa