Statement: Farmworker Justice stands with the LGBTQIA+ community

(Washington, D.C.) – Fifty two years ago this month, during the Stonewall Riots, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two transgender activists, among others, bravely took a stand against police violence and harassment of the LGBTQIA+ community. Pride gatherings are rooted in the struggle to overcome prejudice and lift up the voices of the LGBTQIA+ community in the ongoing quest for justice. 

Each June, we are reminded of the strength and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community with the celebration of Pride Month. While we as Americans often celebrate Pride as a way to support the LGBTQIA+ community, it is important to remember that Pride is an act of resistance. Farmworker Justice stands in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community in the resistance against injustice.  

We recognize the resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community and celebrate the work of our many partners who have committed to serving LGBTQIA+ farmworkers.

LGBTQIA+ “invisibility” within the farmworker community stems from strong cultural and religious taboos regarding sex in general, and sexual and gender minority identities specifically. It is common for LGBTQIA+ persons to hide their identity in order to protect themselves from shaming, assault, and isolation from their families and communities. Farmworker Justice has partnered with The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center at the Fenway Institute to address the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ farmworkers and their inability to seek adequate healthcare. 

Farmworker Justice and The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center have been working together to provide training and technical assistance to existing and potential Health Center Program award recipients and look-alikes (health centers). Because farmworkers tend to live in more isolated rural communities, there are few LGBTQIA+ support services available. Health centers should be familiar with the LGBTQIA+ resources in their communities to refer patients. Health centers may also function as a limited support system. It is possible that the health center provider is the only person with whom the farmworker can talk openly and seek assistance.

California Rural Legal Assistance’s LGBT program focuses on the wellness, education, and safety for LGBT students and families. CRLA works with families, students, school districts, District Attorney’s offices, housing authorities and local nonprofit organizations to achieve their goals of improving access to justice and expanding civic engagement opportunities for LGBT communities.

We would like to recognize CRLA’s LGBTQ+ Program Community Worker and former farmworker, Roselyn Macias. She has been a prominent figure in both queer and farmworker communities. Roselyn is a leader for Conexiones, a support group mostly made up of Latina trans women in Monterey County who are dedicated to raising awareness and visibility in the community for transgender, non-binary, and queer women of color. She is a passionate and active advocate in her community and for more than 7 years has worked with marginalized women to educate them about health and leadership, and to create safe spaces where they can express themselves. Roselyn also works with the Translatina Coalition on policy change and leadership development.

 

“Farmworker Justice stands with the LGBTQIA+ community and remains committed to using our voice, skills and resources to achieve change on a systemic level — through our advocacy work, assistance to community-based organizations and public education. In our work supporting the farmworker movement, we are committed to helping the LGBTQIA+ community’s struggle for justice,” Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice.

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Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C. and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health, immigration status and access to justice.  For more information visit the Farmworker Justice website at www.FarmworkerJustice.org and follow on Twitter at @FarmwrkrJustice.

 

Media Contact:

BA Snyder
Veritas Group for Farmworker Justice
512.630.6337
BA@TheVeritasWay.com

 

Biden Administration Department of Labor Decision on COVID-19 Safety Fails the Nation’s Essential Agriculture Workers

June 11, 2021

On June 10, more than sixteen months after the federal government declared a public health emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finally published an emergency temporary standard for the workplace.  The mandatory rules only apply to the health care sector.  The agency continues to issue mere recommendations for safety precautions for other sectors, including agriculture.  Farmworker Justice calls on the Biden Administration to immediately issue an emergency temporary standard with mandatory rules for agricultural employers.  While many agricultural employers have adopted safety precautions against COVID-19, too many businesses have not responded adequately to protect farmworkers.  Several states have adopted mandatory requirements, and others should follow their lead, as should OSHA, because the COVID-19 pandemic remains a serious threat for farmworkers and their family members.

The exclusion of farmworkers from the federal mandatory standard is inexcusable.  This past year has laid bare what many of us already knew—farmworkers do essential work for our food security, while laboring in one of the most dangerous and lowest-paid jobs in the nation. The COVID-19 pandemic further devastated this already vulnerable population.  Nearly six hundred thousand agricultural workers have contracted COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and too many have died.  A recent UCSF study found that food and agriculture workers have experienced the highest “excess mortality” during the pandemic, with a 39% increase in mortality compared to past years.  Among Latino food and agriculture workers, that mortality reached 59%.

Many of these infections and subsequent deaths were avoidable.  Although some states with substantial agriculture industries implemented mandatory COVID-19 safety standards to protect farmworkers, too many states instead adopted optional and unenforceable guidance.  Without state or federal requirements, many employers callously put workers’ lives in danger.  Farmworkers continue to report that their employers do not provide them with adequate information, masks, hand-washing facilities, hygienic supplies, or the opportunity for social distancing during transportation or in the fields.  And while vaccinations have been a saving grace for many of the nation’s food consumers, the people who grow that food often face several challenges when trying to get vaccinated themselves.  Undocumented workers fear identification requirements and immigration enforcement at vaccination sites.  Workers who are already struggling to survive below the poverty line cannot afford to skip a day of work as they recover from the vaccine’s side effects.

Comprehensive and enforceable standards to protect the nation’s essential workers would have helped keep farmworkers safe in the face of these challenges.  Farmworker Justice and other labor advocates have repeatedly called on OSHA to issue mandatory rules that include sanitation and distancing protocols in workplaces, employer-provided housing, and employer-provided transportation; information dissemination and training about COVID prevention and workplace rights in languages and formats accessible to workers; provision of PPE, at no cost to workers; COVID testing, at no cost to workers; quarantine facilities and provision of supplies for workers in employer-provided housing; and protections against retaliation for workers who report violations.  Rather than taking these straightforward and common-sense steps, OSHA has yet again cowed down to the agribusiness lobbyists.  The Administration and agriculture employers must stop playing with people’s lives and start taking the necessary precautions to keep essential workers safe.

The unenforceable and non-mandatory agriculture guidance issued by OSHA is insufficient to protect the millions of people who kept our economy running, our grocery stores stocked, and our nation safe.  Several states have already tried to limit the virus’s spread through similar, non-mandatory measures.  The infection rate and death toll among the nation’s farmworkers in states across the country prove that these measures are inadequate.

OSHA has abdicated its responsibility.  The heroic workers who risked their lives for this country’s food security deserve so much more.

June 11, 2021

www.farmworkerjustice.org

Statement: House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Holds Hearing on Farmworker Exclusions in the Fair Labor Standards Act

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the House Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing entitled “From Excluded to Essential: Tracing the Racist Exclusion of Farmworkers, Domestic Workers, and Tipped Workers from the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

Farmworker Justice, a national advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., applauds the Subcommittee Chair, Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) for drawing attention to the history of these exclusions and the harmful impacts they have today.

As the hearing witnesses made clear, America’s history of agricultural exceptionalism is rooted in racist politics. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), established core labor protections including a federal minimum wage and overtime pay for most American workers. However, the bill’s sponsors excluded agricultural and domestic workers from the overtime
protections in an effort to appease legislators from Southern states. (Farmworkers also were excluded from the minimum wage until 1966.) At the time, the farmworker population in the South was predominantly African American and still suffered plantation-like living and working conditions. Today, the majority of agricultural workers are Latino, but the injustice of these discriminatory exclusions persists.

“There is no valid justification for excluding farmworkers from overtime pay protections that apply to other workers. Farmworkers should be paid fairly for the work that they do. For decades, we have understood that most working people’s fair pay means time-and-one-half pay after 40 hours of work in a week,” said Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice.

Eliminating the overtime exclusion would provide desperately needed economic security and stability for America’s farmworkers. Despite their status as essential workers, many farmworkers live in poverty. The most recent National Agricultural Workers Survey by the U.S. Department of Labor shows that 30 percent of farmworker families had household income below the poverty level. And the low wages paid to farmworkers only compound other challenges. The long, unpredictable hours and hazardous working conditions of farm labor make it one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted additional harm.

“Employers in the agricultural sector should modernize their labor relations and build profitability based on treating farmworkers with the dignity and respect they deserve. Farming’s business models should not depend on exploitation and exclusions from labor protections,” said Goldstein. “More than 75 years of overtime pay obligations in other sectors, along with state-level overtime requirements for California farmworkers, have demonstrated that employers are capable of running a business and paying their employees a fair wage.”

Congress must act to correct these racist exclusions. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, a member of the Subcommittee, has led efforts in the House to pass the Fairness for Farm Workers Act, which would end the discriminatory denial of overtime pay and most remaining minimum wage exemptions for farm workers in the FLSA. Farmworker Justice supported the bill in the last Congress and strongly supports its re-introduction and enactment in the 117th Congress.

 

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Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C. and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health immigration status and access to justice.  For more information visit the Farmworker Justice website at www.farmworkerjustice.org and follow on Twitter at @FarmwrkrJustice.

 

Media Contact:

BA Snyder
Veritas Group for Farmworker Justice
512.630.6337
BA@TheVeritasWay.com

 

Farm Workforce Modernization Act reintroduced in the House of Representatives

(Washington, D.C.) – The Farm Workforce Modernization Act that passed the House of Representatives in 2019 was reintroduced on March 3 by Representatives Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, and Dan Newhouse, Republican of Washington.

Farmworker Justice assisted the United Farm Workers in the negotiations and strongly supported the bill that passed in 2019. The bipartisan, labor-management compromise passed the House in December during the last Congress with 34 Republicans supporting it. The Senate, then led by Mitch McConnell (R-KY), did not debate or vote on the bill.

“Farmworker Justice strongly supports the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.  It would enable most undocumented farmworkers – the majority of the farm labor force we depend on for much our food – and their family members to obtain a legal immigration status and path to citizenship upon meeting stringent requirements. The bill also would modify the H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program,” said Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice. “We are hopeful that with a lot of hard work and new leadership in the Senate and the White House, the House and the Senate will pass this bill and President Biden will sign it. This bipartisan, labor-management compromise would improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of farmworker families and help ensure our food security.”

The bill summary and language are available on Rep. Lofgren’s website. She chairs the House immigration subcommittee in the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Newhouse is a farmer in the Yakima Valley and former WA state secretary of agriculture.

Read the Farmworker Justice Fact Sheet on the FWMA. Also available in Spanish.

 

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Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C. and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health immigration status and access to justice.  For more information visit the Farmworker Justice website at www.farmworkerjustice.org and follow on Twitter at @FarmwrkrJustice.

 

Media Contact:

BA Snyder
Veritas Group for Farmworker Justice
512.630.6337
BA@TheVeritasWay.com

Lawsuit Decision Overturning Trump Regulation on Agricultural Guestworker Worker Program Wage Rates Takes Effect: H-2A Guestworker Program Wage Rates Increase Modestly for 2021

(Washington, D.C.) — Today, the U.S Department of Labor formally published the annual Adverse Effect Wage Rates for 2021, ending the Trump Administration’s attempt to slash wages under the H-2A agricultural guestworker program that would have caused an average of $178 million a year in lost wages for farmworkers over 10 years. Today’s publication resulted from a successful lawsuit filed against the Trump Administration.

Today’s publication of the Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) for each state applies to all employers that obtain approval to hire temporary foreign agricultural workers on H-2A visas. The AEWRs are one of the minimum wage rates in the H-2A program, and is the one applicable to most H-2A program employers. The Trump Administration sought to change the methodology for setting the AEWRs, beginning with a two-year wage freeze. A court decision restored the longstanding methodology, which is based on a USDA wage survey of agricultural employers. On average across the nation, based on that survey, the AEWRs in 2021 are increasing by about 5% compared to 2020.    

The H-2A law prohibits the Labor Department from approving employers’ applications for guestworkers if the offered wage rates would “adversely affect” job opportunities or wages for U.S. farmworkers. 

The AEWR is the principal H-2A wage protection program, which the Labor Department sets for each state based on regional average hourly wage rates for field and livestock workers combined, as determined by the USDA Farm Labor Survey (FLS). This minimum wage applies to foreign and domestic farmworkers working for H-2A employers.  

The Labor Department has been using the FLS to set AEWRs for decades because it is a recognized measure of the current market rate wage for farmworkers. 

AEWRs for 2020 varied by state, averaging $13.99 per hour nationally. The average 2021 AEWR nationally will be $14.28 per hour — an increase that would have been voided by the Trump Administration’s planned wage freeze.  All states’ wage rates are increasing, helping farmworkers improve their living standards although they remain among the lowest-paid workers in the nation. The results for the five states with the highest number of H-2A workers are below:

 

State 2020 AEWR 2021 AEWR % Increase
Florida $11.71 $12.08 3.2%
Georgia  $11.71 $11.81 0.9%
Washington $15.83 $16.34 3.2%
California $14.77 $16.05 8.7%
North Carolina $12.67 $13.15 3.8%

 

In November 2020, the Trump Administration’s Department of Labor announced a new regulation under the H-2A agricultural guestworker program that would have changed the main wage rate protection for U.S. and foreign workers at agricultural employers that use the H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program. DOL’s announcement included a massive estimated annual “transfer” of $178 million per year on average from workers to employers resulting from this rule, and $1.68 billion over 10 years.  

The United Farm Workers (UFW) and the UFW Foundation, represented by Farmworker Justice and the law firm WilmerHale, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Labor Department’s Nov. 5, 2020, issuance of a new regulation that would have undermined wage protections for U.S. and temporary foreign workers under the H-2A program. The lawsuit resulted in a federal court issuing a preliminary injunction based on the unlawfulness of the wage freeze. 

“In the name of ‘predictability’ for employers, the Trump Administration wanted to allow businesses to hire an unlimited number of temporary foreign workers at below-market wage rates, in violation of the law’s prohibition against adverse effects on US workers’ wages caused by the hiring of guestworkers.” Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein said. “Farmworker Justice is glad to see the modest but important increase in farmworker wages resulting from the successful lawsuit.  We remain committed to continuing to fight for fair wages for farmworkers, which are among the lowest of any occupation in the nation.  We will continue to pursue reforms of the H-2A guestworker program, which is rife with abuses, and immigration reform that grants undocumented farmworkers an opportunity for immigration status and citizenship.”

 

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Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C. and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health immigration status and access to justice. For more information visit the Farmworker Justice website at www.farmworkerjustice.org and follow on Twitter at @FarmwrkrJustice.

Media Contact:

BA Snyder
Veritas Group for Farmworker Justice
512.630.6337
BA@TheVeritasWay.com

Biden’s Labor Department withdraws Trump administration’s final rule on H-2A guest worker program

(Washington, D.C.) – Early Thursday morning, the Department of Labor announced the withdrawal of extensive regulations written by the Trump Administration that would have changed the H-2A guestworker program. The withdrawal occurred before their official publication in the Federal Register and therefore these regulations do not take effect. The Trump administration’s Department of Labor had announced and released the rule by posting on its website on Friday. Farmworker Justice, the United Farm Workers and others strongly opposed the proposed rule and successfully advocated for the withdrawal.

Had the rule gone into effect, U.S. and foreign farmworkers would have suffered in many ways. The Trump regulations would have reduced opportunities for U.S. farmworkers to obtain jobs, reduced the reimbursement of transportation costs for farmworkers by millions of dollars per year, weakened the prevailing wage protection, and weakened housing safety.

A companion rule would have frozen wage rates under the H-2A program for two years, costing farmworkers tens of millions of dollars per year, and an estimated $1.6 billion over ten years. That companion rule was prevented from taking effect by a court injunction that Farmworker Justice and co-counsel at WilmerHale won in the case UFW v. U.S. Department of Labor (E.D. Calif.) To learn more about the lawsuit, click here. However, Friday’s rule included the same wage freeze that we would have had to challenge again.

Moreover, the Trump regulations would not have required agricultural employers to take any steps to address the health and safety of farmworkers who are facing the risk of COVID-19.

“The Trump/Scalia changes in the H-2A agricultural guestworker program would have been devastating to tens of thousands of U.S. and foreign farmworkers,” said Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice. “We immediately submitted a request for withdrawal to the Biden administration. This action is the result of joint advocacy efforts. We are grateful for the immediate response from the new Administration.”

 

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Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C. and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health immigration status and access to justice. For more information visit the Farmworker Justice website at www.farmworkerjustice.org and follow on Twitter at @FarmwrkrJustice.

Media Contact:

BA Snyder
Veritas Group for Farmworker Justice
512.630.6337
BA@TheVeritasWay.com

President Biden unveils comprehensive immigration reform on his first day in office

(Washington, D.C.) – Shortly after being sworn in, President Biden began working to fulfill one of his central campaign promises with his proposed immigration reform bill’s unveiling. If passed, this legislation would most notably grant an eight-year path to citizenship for most immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status as of January 1, 2021. The majority of immigrants could enter a five-year process to obtain permanent legal status, a green card, and could apply for citizenship three years later. Dreamers, TPS holders and farmworkers would be immediately eligible for green cards, provided certain conditions are met.  For farmworkers to obtain a green card, they would have to provide several years of recent agricultural work in the U.S. Three years later they would be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. Farmworkers’ immediate family members also would be eligible for immigration status.

In recognition that farmworkers continue to be denied the same employment-law rights as most other workers, certain changes to employment law would be made, including a phase-in of overtime pay.

The bill also provides for mechanisms to improve the employment verification process and protect workers from exploitation. If passed, this legislation would:

  • Require DHS and the Labor Department to create a commission with labor, employer and civil rights organizations to recommend improvements to the employer verification process.
  • Grant greater U visa relief to workers who suffer labor violations and cooperate with worker protection agencies.
  • Protect victims of workplace retaliation from deportation.
  • Increase penalties for employers who violate labor laws. 

Farmworker Justice supports the President’s efforts to improve the status and treatment of close to 11 million people who have sacrificed everything in their lives to make it to our borders and contribute to our economy and society. The majority of the nation’s 2.4 million farmworkers lack authorized immigration status and suffer greatly for it. The threat of arrest, deportation and family breakup deter most undocumented immigrant farmworkers from challenging illegal employment practices and often from seeking testing and medical assistance for COVID-19.  

“After the last four years of an Administration intent on terrorizing and scapegoating immigrants, it is encouraging to see an Administration prioritizing the wellbeing of the people who put food on our tables,” said Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice. ““We welcome the President’s recognition of farmworkers as the essential workers they are in our food and agriculture system and the need to provide undocumented immigrants with the opportunity for immigration status and citizenship,” he added.  “Farmworker Justice will continue its longstanding efforts to help farmworkers reform our broken immigration system and achieve a greater measure of justice in their workplaces.”  

Immigration reform will help farmworkers feel secure enough to request well-deserved wage increases, fringe benefits, and improved working conditions and to seek legal action for illegal employment practices.  This will lead to a much more stable agricultural workforce, which benefits agriculture businesses and ensures greater food security for this country. It is, frankly, the first step of many needed to rectify the treatment farmworkers have received during this pandemic. 

Farmworker Justice stands ready to work with the Biden / Harris administration to provide much-needed assistance to farmworkers, not only on immigration reform, but also on health care, labor conditions, housing and protections against COVID-19.

 

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Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C. and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health immigration status and access to justice.  For more information visit the Farmworker Justice website at www.farmworkerjustice.org and follow on Twitter at @FarmwrkrJustice.

Media Contact:

BA Snyder
Veritas Group for Farmworker Justice
512.630.6337
BA@TheVeritasWay.com

Final rule change by Department of Labor diminishes livelihoods of U.S. and foreign farmworkers

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Department of Labor announced that it will shortly, presumably while President Trump is still in office, finalize extensive new regulations under the H-2A agricultural guestworker program. The program recently has allowed agricultural employers to employ over 200,000 guestworkers per year.

Farmworker Justice is reviewing the 722-page document to assess its impact. A brief, initial review reveals several obvious harms to the more than 200,000 farmworkers who are H-2A visa holders or U.S. workers employed at H-2A program employers. The DOL restates its intention to freeze the main wage rate under the H-2A guestworker program for two years and then utilize a formula to calculate subsequent wages that, according to DOL’s own understated estimate, will reduce farmworkers’ wages by at least $1.6 billion over ten years. The wage decision, originally issued in November, is under a preliminary injunction preventing DOL from implementing it. The case is UFW v. U.S. Department of Labor (E.D. Calif.); Farmworker Justice and  WilmerHale represent the plaintiffs.

Today’s document states that temporary foreign workers under the H-2A program will no longer be reimbursed fully for their transportation costs of coming into the United States and returning home; the resulting losses to farmworkers will be about $30 million per year or about $300 million over ten years. Farmworkers will lose another $64 million over ten year in subsistence costs—such as the cost of food—during their travel. These are DOL’s own figures. Most of the provisions would take effect by March but the wage rates were on a faster schedule and subject to a court injunction.

“On an initial review of the new regulations, we do not see a focused effort by the Department of Labor to eradicate the H-2A program ‘s rampant wage theft, retaliation, unsafe job sites and exploitative working conditions,” said Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice. “Instead, the  Department plans a massive “transfer” of funds out of the pockets of impoverished farmworkers into the businesses that employ them by cutting wages and reimbursements of workers’ transportation and subsistence costs, totaling at least $2 billion over ten years. Despite farmworkers’ essential worker status and the prevalence of COVID-19 among farmworkers, DOL takes no steps to require employers to protect farmworkers from the pandemic or help those who become ill; the pandemic only gains a mention in a footnote in this 722-page document,” he added (see p. 208, fn. 66). 

“In the last moments of the  Trump Administration, the Department of Labor has announced it will weaken labor protections for the most vulnerable workers in the nation while insisting that farmworkers are essential workers who must continue to work without legal protections against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.”

 

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Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C. and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health immigration status and access to justice.  For more information visit the Farmworker Justice website at www.farmworkerjustice.org and follow on Twitter at @FarmwrkrJustice.

 

Media Contact: 

BA Snyder
Veritas Group for Farmworker Justice
512.630.6337
BA@TheVeritasWay.com

Farmworker Justice Supports the U.S. President-Elect’s Nomination of Marty Walsh as Department of Labor Secretary

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)Farmworker Justice supports the President-elect’s nomination of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to serve as the next Department of Labor secretary. Involved with organized labor since the age of 21 and a former local union president, Mayor Walsh understands workers’ needs and how to address them. 

Farmworkers, most of whom are immigrants, have faced many difficult challenges over the past few years, often living in fear of arrest and deportation and forced to accept unfair and illegal working conditions.  As Mayor, Marty Walsh signed a sanctuary-city law to stop Boston’s police forces from cooperating or sharing information with ICE. Mayor Walsh is also committed to fighting climate change, which poses a threat to farmworkers’ health due to high temperatures and wildfires. 

In recent months, Farmworker Justice acted as co-counsel in the lawsuit that won an injunction against the Department of Labor for a new regulation freezing wages of more than 200,000 farmworkers at employers participating in the H-2A agricultural guestworker program. However, the White House is reviewing a multi-faceted regulation under the H-2A guestworker program that the DOL intends to finalize under Trump, harming tens of thousands of U.S. and temporary foreign farmworkers.   

“We are hopeful that as Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh will reverse the many harmful policies adopted by the Trump Administration and resolve the pending lawsuits against the Department of Labor.  We are also hopeful that the DOL under his leadership will improve enforcement of farmworkers’ rights and, adopt new policies and programs that help the nation’s farmworkers improve their wages, working conditions and occupational safety,” said Bruce Goldstein, president of Farmworker Justice. 

Click here for more information regarding the court’s December decision on H-2A Guestworker wage-rates. Information about the H-2A program is available on our website resource center at https://www.farmworkerjustice.org/resources/h-2a.

 

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Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C. and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health immigration status and access to justice.

For more information visit the Farmworker Justice website at www.farmworkerjustice.org and follow on Twitter at @FarmwrkrJustice.

 

Media Contact: 

BA Snyder
Veritas Group for Farmworker Justice
512.630.6337
BA@TheVeritasWay.com

As the country survives an attempted overthrow of our democracy, Farmworker Justice supports the U.S. President- elect’s nominations of Civil Rights Experts to the Department of Justice

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Farmworker Justice supports President-elect Biden’s selections for leadership of the Department of Justice.  Biden has nominated a centrist with extensive experience in selecting Merrick Garland to be the next Attorney General. It is encouraging that Biden also plans to place Vanita Gupta, head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Kristen Clarke head of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to high-level positions in the Justice Department. These individuals have demonstrated expertise and commitment to the rule of law, will restore integrity to the Justice Department and are strong advocates for civil rights.

The attack on our nation’s capital on January 6 was an attempt to destroy our democracy that was enabled and encouraged by President Trump who used the Justice Department to thwart civil and human rights.  Amid this crisis, President-elect Biden has chosen to nominate experienced people who will restore the Justice Department’s commitment to upholding the rule of law. 

“Over the past four years, farmworkers have endured attacks on numerous fronts, including the erosion of their civil rights. The Justice Department has defended numerous illegal federal agency actions that courts have overturned.  Farmworkers make up a large part of the agricultural workforce and have had to live in fear of persecution because of the Trump administration’s actions. We are hopeful that a Biden Justice Department led by Merrick Garland, Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke will restore and improve protections for these workers and their families.” said Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice.

Farmworker Justice looks forward to working with the new Administration to advance the civil rights for the farmworkers who continue to work on the frontlines of this pandemic. We are hopeful that the treatment of these essential workers and their families will improve significantly under his leadership.

Farmworker Justice actively continues to follow President-elect Biden’s cabinet nomination process. Farmworker Justice supports the President-elect’s nomination of former governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack for the next Secretary of Agriculture. We’ve expressed our views on President-elect Biden’s Nomination of California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, as Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services and on the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas as Department of Homeland Security Secretary.

 

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Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C. and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health immigration status and access to justice.  For more information visit the Farmworker Justice website at www.farmworkerjustice.org and follow on Twitter at @FarmwrkrJustice.

 

Media Contact: 

BA Snyder
Veritas Group for Farmworker Justice
512.630.6337
BA@TheVeritasWay.com