Tag Archives: immigrant labor

ACTION: AgJobs Reintroduced Today, Show your Support!

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Today, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Adam Putnam (R-FL) introduced the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act, aka AgJOBS. This bill has bipartisan support and the backing of business and labor interests. The push of the bill is the stabilization of the labor market in the agricultural industry and earned path to citizenship for eligible farmworkers

Click here to send your Member of Congress a message telling them to support AgJobs!

From United Farmworkers

Who are America’s farm workers? You don’t see them in the restaurants, grocery stores or farmers’ markets where you buy your food. They are part of an invisible world where the food just appears on the shelves.

Here are some facts about the people who labor in our fields. They work in substandard conditions for wages far below the poverty line. Their real wages have not increased in nearly 30 years. The average farm worker makes just $13,000 per year. Many have no health care and can’t take time off to seek medical care for themselves or their families. They often live in decrepit housing that you wouldn’t even let your dog live in. Unsafe working conditions and injuries on the job are common occurrences. Many employers use the threat of deportation to ensure workers’ silence.

There’s a bipartisan immigration bill before Congress that could drastically improve the lives of these men and women who pick our country’s food. It’s called AgJOBS–The Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act (S. 1038, Feinstein).

AgJOBS represents a critical opportunity for farm workers and their employers to finally address this crisis. It’s a compromise that will provide America with a stable farm labor force, help ensure that farm workers are treated fairly, and finally give the men and women who pick our food the opportunity to come out of the shadows and earn legal status and fair wages in safe conditions.

This bill is a great step towards the end goal of comprehensive immigration reform. The unique needs of the agricultural sector merit a separate piece of legislation for those needs to be met. We applaud Senator Feinstein and Reps Berman and Putnam for introducing this important piece of legislation and hope that when the time comes for an immigration reform bill to hit Congress, we can count on their backing.

Click here to send your Member of Congress a message telling them to support AgJobs!

ACTION: Join the Made in L.A. May Day Campaign

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Made in L.A. is a ground-breaking documentary that follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a trendy clothing retailer. In intimate verite style, Made in L.A. reveals the impact of the struggle on each woman’s life as they are gradually transformed by the experience.

Now, advocates from across the country are launching a campaign to use Made in L.A. as a tool to humanize and change the terms of the immigration debate.


Watch this short new web video about the campaign, the first in a series that will highlight the many issues that intersect in Made in L.A. Forward it to your friends!

Between April 15th and May 31st (and beyond) national organizations, grassroots groups, faith-based congregations and individuals are coming together in a nationwide effort to share the Emmy-winning Made in L.A. and put a human face on the issues of immigration, immigrant workers’ rights, and supporting humane immigration reform.

By creating a climate of empathy and understanding around immigration reform, we can use Made in L.A. to help lay the foundation for change. Join the movement at www.MadeInLA.com/MayDay!

Other ways you can help promote the campaign and change the terms of the immigration debate include:

1. Host a screening

2. Send an e-mail to your friends and lists about the campaign and include the short web video below. Visit our snazzy new Facebookand Myspacepages and spread the word!

3. Post the banner and button on your blog or website

Immigrant Workers are Vital

More proof that we need comprehensive immigration reform, rather than the current “enforcement only” or state-by-state piecemeal approach. Everyone suffers at the hands of the broken system.

From the Washington Post:

HINTON, Va. — Every morning, 26,000 white tom turkeys arrive at the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative plant in the Shenandoah Valley, where they are killed, gutted, cleaned, chilled, cut up and prepared for shipment by the end of the day. The work is hard and cold and messy, and few local residents are willing to do it.

So the cooperative relies heavily on immigrant workers. Its owners say that they do their best to weed out applicants who are in the country illegally but that their industry is increasingly squeezed by federal pressure on employers who hire illegal immigrants and criminal networks that sell false or stolen identity documents.

Now, poultry processors in Virginia and across the country are taking their case to Congress. Last week, several hundred industry leaders met in Washington to lobby for immigration changes and an improved document-checking system as well as relief from environmental rules that have doubled the price of the feed corn they buy for their birds.

“We depend on immigrants. If they all went away today, people like us couldn’t operate,” said Jim Mason, president of the cooperative, who visited a half-dozen congressional offices. “People think we hire Hispanics because we can get them cheaper, but it is absolutely false. We do everything the government asks and more to make sure our workers are legal, and we turn a lot of people away. But if an ID is stolen, there is nothing we can do.”

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