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Migrant Labor

Organizers Speak Out As Employers Investigations Hit Record Lows

Sixty years after Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta founded the National Farm Workers Association, agricultural workers—especially migrants—continue to be subjected to widespread abuses, including wage theft and dangerous working conditions, due to lax enforcement of labor regulations, concerted efforts by employers to skirt the rules that are in place and a political-economic system that favors employers. Despite these challenges, labor organizations have helped farmworkers stand up for themselves and together with other workers, with some success. Although migrants working temporary and seasonal jobs on farms are legally protected by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) under the H-2A visa program, legal protection does not necessarily translate into workplace protections, especially absent a union presence.

Canada Is Pushing Climate Refugees Into Migrant Worker Programs

In 2017, wildfires in B.C. captured headlines around the world. Canadians from coast to coast donated generously to those whose homes and businesses were impacted. But there were some agricultural workers whose precarity rendered them nearly invisible, even as they continued to labour in the heat and the smoke. Andrea,* a former blueberry worker who was employed under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program during the disaster, vividly remembers what it was like to work during the fires. “There was a mix of colours, red, grey, brown. It was covering the sky. You couldn’t see the sky and it was hard to breathe. And the smoke looked like clouds coming down on the ground.
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