U.S. Labor Dept. reinstates decades-old farm worker protections rules - UFW applauds return to bi-partisan farm worker regulations
U.S. Labor Dept. reinstates decades-old farm worker protections rules UFW applauds return to bi-partisan farm worker regulations
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced today reinstatement of protections for imported farm workers that were slashed from the nation’s agricultural guest worker program during the last days of the Bush administration in early 2009.
The Bush administration's changes to the H-2A agricultural guest worker program, which took effect on January 17, 2009, dramatically impacted wages and working conditions for foreign agricultural workers. Under the Bush rules, agricultural employers could more easily access cheap foreign labor with little government oversight.
“The United Farm Workers applauds Secretary Solis for restoring protections for imported farm workers that had been in effect since the Reagan administration. This is a great victory for all farm workers,” said Arturo S. Rodriguez, UFW president.
Solis’s rules reversed some wage cuts that were imposed on both U.S. farm workers and foreign field laborers. The new rules would also remedy cutbacks in labor protections and restore the requirement that U.S. workers be hired before foreign laborers are imported, a protection weakened under the Bush regulations.
"We now must focus on addressing the nation's agricultural labor supply through legislation, such as the bipartisan, broadly-backed AgJOBS bill, that would let farm workers currently laboring in the United States legally stay by continuing to work in agriculture," Rodriguez added.
AgJOBS is a bill negotiated by the UFW and the nation's agricultural industry.