🚨 ACTION ALERT! Farm Workforce Modernization Act 🚨

-URGENT-

HR 1603, Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 might come for a vote THIS WEEK. Call your representative today!

Find your representative here:
https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

In this bill, ask for:

  • A reasonable path to citizenship for farm workers
    • Immediate green cards for farm workers
  • Removal of the E-Verify requirement
  • H-2A regulations that better benefit farm workers and ensure fair wages
    • Provision for transportation reimbursements and housing
    • Living wages
    • Stronger oversight of farm labor contractors and mutual responsibility of FLCs and growers for labor conditions at their farms
    • Grievance policies and boards
    • No expansion to year-round visas under the H-2A program

Additionally, this is a good time to remind them of the need for other basic farm worker protections including the right to organize and collectively bargain without retaliation.

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA) has been introduced as a bipartisan bill and includes a long-needed path to citizenship for farm workers specifically. While the bill is not perfect, it has the strong possibility of being passed which is why now is the opportunity to make improvements.

We’ve heard opposition to the bill from farm worker partners in the Northwest and East. While this bill could improve conditions for some workers under the H-2A system, long-term farm workers within the U.S. working in smaller settings are left out, and are frightened by the concession to require E-Verify—which was attractive in getting growers to sign on. Additionally, there are concerns about housing provisions, transportation reimbursements, wage calculations, oversight of farm labor contractors (FLCs), the ability to negotiate grievances, and the expansion to year-round H-2A visas for dairy workers and others (if workers are needed year-round, then why not offer them green cards or citizenship?).

Please also encourage support for President Biden’s goal of providing immediate green cards for farm workers. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/01/20/fact-sheet-president-biden-sends-immigration-bill-to-congress-as-part-of-his-commitment-to-modernize-our-immigration-system/

The National Farm Worker Ministry supports all our farm worker partners as they seek farm worker rights and improved conditions for farm workers. Farm worker partners include unions, coalitions, associations, and other groups who are farm worker led and seek to secure the rights of farm workers. To see more about these groups, go to http://nfwm.org/farm-workers/farmworker-partners/

NFWM’s focus is to educate, equip and mobilize and we are committed to doing that in every way possible. Right now, we are working with two boycotts, food certification programs, and direct efforts with farm worker organizing groups around the country. You can find resources about issues affecting farm workers on http://nfwm.org/farm-workers/farm-worker-issues/

Look for updates through our e-news, Facebook and Twitter, and on the website.


Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021
H.R. 1603

Originally introduced 2019
Reintroduced March 3, 2021

Sponsors: U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA)

Summary (prepared by the office of Rep. Lofgren):
https://lofgren.house.gov/sites/lofgren.house.gov/files/3.3.21%20-%20Farm%20Workforce%20Modernization–Two%20Pager.pdf

Full text of the bill:
https://lofgren.house.gov/sites/lofgren.house.gov/files/FARM_WORK_xml.pdf

 

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