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New Protections Empower H-2A Agricultural Workers To Organize

Agriculture is rife with labor violations and abuse, but thanks to a new rule going into effect this month, the industry’s most vulnerable migrant H-2A workers now have better protections to organize against unfair treatment from American employers. The H-2A Temporary Agricultural Program allows American employers to bring migrant workers to the U.S. with visas to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural jobs that could not be filled by American workers. Unlike other visa categories, there is no cap on the number of H-2A workers who can work in the U.S. each year. The program has exploded in recent years because of ongoing labor shortages in the agricultural industry, where labor violations run rampant. In 2023, the Department of Labor (DOL) certified nearly 380,000 H-2A jobs, compared to 79,000 in 2010.

India: 2024 Election Was A ‘Revolt Of The Farmers’

The election results from India made the whole world sit up and take notice. Headlines used words like “stunning” and “shocked” to describe the result. No Indian election has elicited such worldwide attention. Modi and his BJP have thundered into the electoral arena with the slogan “Ab Ki Baar, Char So Paar”, which means “this time will go over 400”. The National Democratic Alliance, the coalition that the BJP leads, was to win more than 400 seats in a Lok Sabha that has 545 seats. And the BJP itself was supposed to win 370 seats, which would have itself constituted the super majority of over two-thirds.

Around The Mountain Valley Pipeline, Farmers Losing Access To Clean Water

There are some who say the water of Monroe County, West Virginia, is the purest and best-tasting in the world — or at least it was in the 1990s. The springs on Peters Mountain, which straddles the border with Virginia, won first prize at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting four times in that decade, beating out — as farmer Maury Johnson will tell you — the renowned municipal water of New York City. Johnson’s family has owned over 200 acres of farmland in Monroe County for 130 years, in the verdant Hans Creek Valley. Coming around the bend of a two-lane road into the valley, you behold a patchwork of dandelion-dotted pastures where small farmers raise sheep, cattle, pigs, and even a paddock of wide-eyed, statue-still deer. Underneath that farmland is a geological formation called karst, which is found throughout the greater Appalachian region.

Organizing Rural And Small Towns For Affordable Housing And Racial Justice

In March, the Rural Democracy Initiative conducted a wide-ranging survey of rural and small town voters that found the number one issue for people was rising costs, particularly the cost of buying a home. When asked if the rising cost of housing preventing people from buying homes was a major or minor problem where they lived, 68% or respondents said it was a major problem, including 64% of Democrats, 71% of Independents and 68% of Republicans. That comes as no surprise to Jaime Izaguirre, a housing organizer in Dubuque, Iowa, for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. Not only is the cost of buying a house beyond the reach of many, finding an affordable, well-maintained apartment or house or mobile home to rent is increasingly difficult in rural and small town America.

European Farmers Shun Anti-Green Deal Protest In Brussels

Europe’s largest farming unions representing millions of agricultural workers have rejected calls to join next week’s protest against EU green reforms, DeSmog can reveal. Smaller groups have also shunned the demo – some wanting to avoid the prospect of violence, others claiming they didn’t know it was happening. Preparations for the June 4 demo have been ramping up ahead of the start of the EU elections next Thursday, with protesters set to gather in Brussels days before European citizens head to the polls. The hardline Dutch group Farmers Defence Force (FDF) has urged farmer “warriors” to attend the demo, with its spokesperson claiming: “we are defending the rights of farmers and the standards of the European Union as it’s supposed to be”.

Revealed: Far-Right Links Of Polish Farmer Hunger Strikers

An obscure far-right linked farmers group has risen to prominence in Poland after it was championed by populist politicians ahead of the EU elections, DeSmog can reveal. Orka, a new farmers’ movement that materialised earlier this month, entered Warsaw’s parliament building on May 9 to protest against EU climate plans and Ukrainian food imports. Protesters suspended a 10-day hunger strike last week after winning the attention of Polish President Andrzej Duda, who invited them to talks, and reportedly offered one member a role on his council for agriculture. The protest group was accompanied by the far-right Confederation Party’s Marta Chech, who is running as a candidate in the June 6-9 EU ballot.

India’s BJP Faces Ire Of Farmers In Final Phase Of Elections

Only two phases remain in India’s seven-phase national elections. The voting for the next two phases are scheduled on May 25 and June 1. The ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is facing a united challenge from the center-left alliance led by the Congress Party across the country. The BJP’s battles in these last two phases of the elections are proving to be even more fierce due to the organized popular resentment against its farm policies in the region. Significant parts of the states polling in these two final phases, the state of Haryana with 10 seats in the Lok Sabha and Punjab with 13 seats, have been the epicenter of the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

Pakistani Farmers Launch A Nationwide Movement

Thousands of farmers in Pakistan have launched a nationwide movement demanding increased government procurement of wheat. The campaign will kick off with national mobilizations on Friday, May 10, Khalid Khokhar, the leader of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (Pakistan Farmer Movement or PKI), a united body of most of the farmers’ unions in the country, said in a press conference on Sunday. The mobilizations are set to kick off in Multan, Punjab and would be a continuation of the last month’s agitation in several parts of the country. Khokhar claimed that an even greater number of farmers’ organizations and groups would be participating in the campaign and mobilizations.

Farm Organizations Announce National ‘Enough Is Enough Tour’

Sixteen farm organizations announced the launch of the national Enough Is Enough Tour in protest of government policies that drive consolidation of the food system into the hands of the largest multinational corporations to the detriment of farmers and ranchers. With Congress preparing to debate the farm bill during prime planting and calving season, restricting farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to bring their voices to Washington D.C., farm groups will gather at events in at least five states to call on members of Congress to deliver a bill that levels the playing field.

How To Stop To Israel’s Genocidal Starvation Of Palestinians

Gaza has been under a blockade for over 15 years that created bare subsistence conditions for Palestinians, but since October 7, 2023, the noose has been tightened. Palestinians are dying of starvation and dehydration in addition to the massacres committed by Israeli soldiers. In Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC-Pal) has been struggling to provide water and materials to Palestinians to grow food and has been purchasing produce to provide to families in need. Clearing the FOG speaks with Fuad Abu Saif, director of UAWC-Pal, about their work and the global days of fasting in solidarity with Palestine. The next one is April 13. Click here to donate to the UAWC-Pal. Clearing the FOG also speaks with USAF Airman Larry Hebert, an active duty member of the military who began an open-ended hunger strike on March 31 to press the Biden administration for a ceasefire and an end to the starvation of Palestinians.

Mexico Provides Non-GM Corn Opportunity For US Farmers

United States commodity organizations have cheered on the U.S. government as it tries to get Mexico’s restrictions on genetically modified (GM) corn declared in violation of our trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, arguing that it cuts farmers’ export markets and sales revenues. But what if Mexico’s modest restrictions could instead turn out to benefit U.S. farmers who shift to premium non-genetically modified (GM) corn markets as international corn prices fall? It sounds counter-intuitive, but it might just be true. The math is pretty simple.

Farmers’ Protests Challenging EU Policies Spread To Eastern Europe

Farmers and their unions in Eastern and Central Europe, are mobilizing in large numbers against growing economic distress. They have expressed their rejection of provisions in the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Green Deal, and against the high cost of production and low incomes, import of tariff-free grains from Ukraine war efforts, and exhaustive bureaucratic procedures in farm-related laws and regulations. Farmers affiliated with the Agrarian Chamber of the Czech Republic (AKCR), Slovak Chamber of Agriculture and Food Industry, unions in Poland, and many others participated in rallies and road blocks on February 22, demanding concrete policy measures from their respective governments and the European Union (EU) in solving their grievances.

Colombian Farmers Take Back Land Stolen By Big Oil

The story of multinational corporations taking land and resources from working people can be found all over the world. In Colombia, farming families have joined forces to reclaim their stolen land and defend it from local security forces acting on behalf of the Occidental Petroleum Corporation. The Real News reports from Arauquita, Colombia, on the frontlines of a land defenders’ campaign that stretches back decades.  In Arauquita, Northeast Colombia, 150 farming families were displaced from this land 20 years ago. It’s been exploited by the Occidental Petroleum Corporation ever since. However, the farmers returned to reclaim their land.

Greek Farmers Continue Their Protest

The protesting farmers in Greece decided to continue their agitations across the country with demands such as duty-free agricultural diesel, reduced electricity costs, and subsidies on supplies and animal feed, as negotiations with the government on February 13 yielded no results. A week-long protest, including rallies and blockades in major motorways across Greece, forced the New Democracy (ND) government to call the farmers’ groups for negotiations on Tuesday. The farmer’s unions rejected the meager concessions on electricity prices offered by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. They demanded effective measures for renegotiating the EU’s new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), full compensation for lost income during floods, and a cessation of labeling non-Greek produce as Greek.

Indian Farmers March On Delhi To Protest Unfulfilled Demands

Indian farmers from the State of Punjab began a protest march towards the national capital, New Delhi on February 13, Tuesday, to raise longstanding demands that have gone unfulfilled by the Union government. Cement blocks, metal barricades, barbed wire, and iron nails were erected on the borders of Delhi and in the State of Haryana on Tuesday to stop the farmers, similar to the blockades that had been set up over two years ago, when farmers had first marched on Delhi to demand their rights. The “Delhi Chalo” protest on Tuesday was organized by over 250 farmers’ unions under the umbrella of the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM– Peasant-Worker Front) and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (non political), comprised of over 150 farmers unions and a breakaway platform from the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a group of over 500 unions, which had organized the historic protests of 2020-21.
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