Scripture tells us “The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you keep and back by fraud, cry out and the cries of the harvesters have reached the aears of the Lord of hosts.”(James 5:4)
In the food production chain today, some of the hands that bring our food to the table are hidden. In the United States today there are between 2.5 and 3 million farm workers. Agricultural labor includes planting, cultivating, harvesting, and preparing crops for market or storage. Farm workers are usually employed by growers and/or by crew leaders, who serve as intermediaries between growers and workers. 500,000 of these workers are children. This is made possible because the Fair Labor Standards Act allows children as young as 10 to work in farm work under certain conditions and with their parents’ consent. Although farm work is considered to be a dangerous occupation, farmworkers are largely exempt from most federal workplace safety regulations. They are also typically less protect or excluded from other employment-related protections at the state level including state minimum wage laws. The mean and median incomes for agricultural employment are in the range of $15,000 – $17,499.
What can we do to support justice for farm workers?
- Be aware of the issues – locally and globally
- Support worker advocacy organizations such as the National Farm Worker Ministry
- Learn about the Equitable Food Initiative. Purchase EFI label fresh fruits and vegetables at participating Costco and Whole Foods Market locations.
BULLETIN INSERT COPY farm workers rights – March 2019 – bulletin length
- National Farm Worker Ministry http: //www. nfwm.org
- WHEAT wheat@HungerHurts.org
- Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) https://ciw-online.org
- United Farm Workers https://ufw.org
- Arizona Interagency Farmworkers Coalition aifc.org
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