Panel discussing actions the Biden administration and Congress can take to better protect farmworkers Feb 10

Event Dates: 
02/10/21
Wed Feb 10 2-3:30 Panel Discussing Actions the Biden administration and Congress can take to better protect farmworkers - on-line event. Presented by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The COVID-19 pandemic has helped better expose the public to the reality that the nation’s farmworkers—the low-paid workers who are essential to keeping Americans fed—are not adequately protected by federal law. Join EPI for a webinar that explores the significant challenges that farmworkers confront in the workplace and the options available to improve protections for them.
A new EPI report sheds light on how efforts to protect the wages and working conditions of U.S. farmworkers and temporary migrant farmworkers with H-2A visas have failed. The authors found that 70% of investigations of farms by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor detected violations of federal employment laws. This timely discussion will take place just before agricultural employment increases in the spring and summer months.
 
EPI’s report aims to spur a conversation on how to improve protections for farmworkers and safeguard their wages and working conditions. The authors propose additional funding for more WHD investigators, stiffer and extra penalties for repeat violators, and using algorithms to analyze data to detect anomalies and flag farm employers who may have violated employment and wage and hour laws.
 
After a brief summary of the findings, David Weil, former administrator of the Wage and Hour Division under President Obama; Janice Fine, a professor at Rutgers University and the Director of Research and Strategy at the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization; and Baldemar Velasquez, who leads one of the two main farmworker unions in the United States, will discuss the significance of EPI’s findings and provide recommendations for the incoming Biden administration and Congress to ensure compliance with wage and hour laws among agricultural employers.
 
Featured speakers:
Daniel Costa, Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research, Economic Policy Institute
Philip Martin, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis
Zach Rutledge, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, UC Davis/Arizona State University
David Weil, Dean and Professor, Heller School, Brandeis University, and former WHD Administrator
Janice Fine, Professor and Research and Strategy Director, Center for Innovation in Worker Organization, Rutgers University
Baldemar Velasquez, President and Founder, Farm Labor Organizing Committee