As worsening drought conditions in California and the West take a heavy economic toll on agriculture, state legislators are considering a plan to pay farmworkers $1,000 a month to help them cover the cost of necessities.
Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) hosted a press conference with community leaders and advocacy organizations including the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry’s (NCCHM) Raíces y Alas Congress, Americans for Prosperity, AmericanHort, National Immigration Forum, Raíces, The LIBRE Initiative, and several other members of the Alliance for a New Immigration Consensus to urge action on his legislation, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
It’s probably important to note that the rumblings of ag labor reform are becoming louder on the Hill. This week saw several articles discussing the interest of various members of the Senate getting push from their House colleagues to get something going in the upper chamber.
NCAE followed up on what may be an opportunity by joining with our Ag Workforce Coalition colleagues in a meeting with staff of US Senator Diane Feinstein, a longtime agricultural labor reform advocate. Senator Feinstein authored S. 744 which passed out of the Senate in 2013. The discussion was very positive and the coalition is working on additional meetings with other champions’ offices in the coming weeks.
NCAE hosted another in its series of webinars on agricultural labor topics this week setting a new record for webinar registrations. Bethany Boggess-Alcauter, PhD, an epidemiologist with the National Center for Farmworker Health, shared insights and strategies for protecting workers as temperatures rise.
Next week NCAE will be one of the presenters at OSHA’s “Stakeholder Meeting on OSHA Initiatives To Protect Workers From Heat-Related Hazards”. The meeting takes place on Tuesday and is likely precedent to issuance of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on a new OSHA heat regulation. Having the voice of agricultural employers represented in this discussion will be critical in helping shape the regulatory activity.
Have a great weekend!
News articles and citations of interest for week ending 2022/04/29
As of April 19, the Drought Monitor map is showing worsening drought for the western half of the state.
A new Colorado law that allows agricultural workers, including cannabis grow employees, to unionize has led to a public relations crisis for one Denver marijuana company, with staffers and union organizers making headlines by alleging unsafe working conditions and poor treatment.