A report released by Farmworker Justice stated enhanced labor protections and stronger enforcement are needed to improve working conditions for the nation's farmworkers.
Enacted in 1983, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (AWPA) has resulted in some improvement in wage theft and dangerous working conditions, but more needs to be done, according to Agri-Pulse. Under the law, agricultural employers are required to disclose and comply with job terms. Safety standards for some housing and transportation vehicles and regulations of farm labor contractors also are included in the legislation.
"Because our immigration system is broken, the majority of farmworkers lack authorized immigration status and most are too afraid to step forward to challenge illegal employment practices," said Rep. George Miller (D.-Calif.), ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. "Unscrupulous employers need to be weeded out, and abused workers need greater access to the justice system and immigration."
The report stated all farmworkers should be covered by AWPA's full range of protections, as well as double or triple damages for payroll and wage violations.