As we head into Labor Day Weekend, let’s talk about an organization that supports workers' rights for people who are laboring all the time, Farmworker Justice.
Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., Farmworker Justice is “a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety, and access to justice.”
According to 2017 Census of Agriculture, an estimated 2.4 million farmworkers work on farms and ranches in the United States, with a significant percentage living and working in California.
If you’ve ever seen workers in the fields as you’re driving down the highway, you have an idea of how difficult the working conditions are. Some facts you may not know about farmworkers: the majority are immigrants, and approximately 36% lack authorized work status under current U.S. laws, annual income for an individual is roughly $20,000 – $24,999 and women, who make up roughly 34% of the agricultural workforce, face particular obstacles in the male-dominated agricultural sector, including sexual harassment by supervisors. This is where Farmworker Justice comes in.
Immigration and labor protections are a big focus area. Farmworker Justice advocates for immigration reform to legalize undocumented farmworkers, for better labor protections and for more effective enforcement of labor violations. They also file lawsuits on behalf of farmworkers and their organizations to challenge systemic abuses by employers and their labor contractors, and unlawful conduct by government agencies. You can see a list of recent litigation at this link.
Farmworker Justice also works to improve occupational safety, health, and health care access for farmworkers through community partnerships, health education and policy advocacy. Visit the resource center for videos about community health centers, heat stress and Covid-19. While you’re there download a coloring book that helps children learn about preventing diabetes through healthy eating. Available in English, Spanish, Mam, Creole and Mixteco!
If you’d like to help secure fundamental human and civil rights for the migrant farmworkers who harvest the fruits and vegetables you rely on every day, the best way to do so is with a donation to Farmworker Justice. You can also help by amplifying their work on social media. Follow them on Facebook at this link, on Twitter @FarmwrkrJustice and Instagram @farmworkerjustice. #HandsThatFeedUs