Friday, March 14, 2008

Down stateside, while the population cheers and jeers over the electoral "circuses" part of "bread and circuses", some people at least are still concerned with the "bread" part. The following is a further appeal from the United Farm Workers concerning their campaign against the proposed changes to the US "guest worker" program. To join this campaign see the end of this article....

UFW files complaint over guest worker violations.
Tell the DOL to do its job.
Last month you and more than 5,000 other UFW supporters sent e-faxes to the Department of Labor (DOL) telling them instead of gutting the current guest worker program, they should be enforcing the regulations that are currently on the books to protect farm workers.

Yesterday the UFW filed a complaint with the DOL charging that Salinas based Tanimura & Antle—one of the largest vegetable growers in the country--violated federal law by denying jobs to qualified U.S. farm worker--including its own laid-off employees--while hiring temporary foreign workers under the H-2A program. Tanimura & Antle had received approval from the DOL to bring in workers for the 2007-2008 lettuce season based on their claim that they faced a shortage of labor and needed to hire guest workers.

This is a prime example of the problems with the current H2A program. Rather than enforcing the laws currently on the books, the new proposed law weakens enforcement standards and makes it easier for some growers to break the law by not attempting to hire US workers first.

The Department of Labor already does little to stop employer abuses under the H-2A program. If violations like this are happening under the current law, just imagine the difficulties local US farm workers would face if the changes proposed by the Bush Administration go into effect.

Please send your e-fax to the Department of Labor TODAY and tell them enough is enough. They should be enforcing the regulations that are currently on the books to protect farm workers instead of trying to gut the current guest worker program.

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