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Agricultural union FLOC pushes Mexican government to defend Mexican farmworkers in the US

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO, Feb. 28, 2018: In a meeting with the Roberto Campa Cifrián on Tuesday, the Secretary of Labor of Mexico, FLOC President Velásquez pushed the Mexican Department of Labor to work with FLOC in achieving a common interest of protecting Mexican workers.

Historically, Mexican workers who come to the US to work in the fields through the H2A guest worker program have been exploited in the workplace and excluded from most laws that protect the rest of the US workforce. Velásquez explained the harmful impacts of this lack of parity by detailing abuses that Mexican farmworkers face in the US including widespread wage theft, sexual harassment, and dangerous working conditions among others.

In the context of Trump’s administration and immigration proposals like the Goodlatte Bill, Velásquez stressed the need for Mexico to defend their own citizens. Velásquez suggested that the Mexico government use the NAFTA renegotiations to push for the expansion of the Agricultural Worker Protections Act (AWPA) to include H2A guestworkers.

AWPA is the principal federal law that provides federal protections around the wages, housing, transportation and working conditions of US agricultural workers but currently excludes H2A guest workers from its protections and remedies. If AWPA covered the H2A program, it would be an additional tool that labor organizations could use to stop the abuses in the H2A program, which has expanded rapidly to more than 200,000 agricultural workers in 2017, the majority of whom are Mexican citizens.

During the meeting, Campa Cifrián committed to promoting actions and policies to stop the exploitation of agricultural workers and stated that he was confident that they could advance protections for workers. Campa Cifrián requested another meeting this summer to give a report back on the progress that has been made.

“We are grateful for Campa taking the time to meet with us. We look forward to our next meeting this summer to hear what progress has been made and to continue building a collaborative relationship with the Mexican government to achieve our common goal of protecting Mexican workers,” concluded Mr. Velásquez.

Editor’s Note: The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) is a farmworker union that represents over 10,000 farmworkers in NC, SC, KY and OH. FLOC organizes farmworkers in a large-scale effort to make structural changes and improve the working conditions and wages of farmworkers. Since 2007, the union has been calling on tobacco purchasers to spend more money buying US tobacco to support growers and improve conditions for the tobacco farmworkers in their supply chain.


Copyright © 1989 to 2018 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/06/18 20:35:09 -0800.




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