FARMWORKER JUSTICE FUND INC
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Farmworker Justice is a national organization that empowers migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health, and access to justice. We engage in policy analysis, advocacy, training, public education, litigation and support to farmworker organizations.
About This Cause
Farmworker Justice serves farmworkers -- the people who cultivate and harvest our food by laboring on farms and ranches -- and their families and organizations. Through a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach, Farmworker Justice helps farmworkers and their organizations improve conditions in their workplaces and their communities. Farmworkers experience low wages and labor in one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. The health of farmworkers and their children is disproportionately poor due to a variety of factors. Access to health care is limited. Employment laws discriminate against farmworkers at the federal level and in most states. Labor protections that do apply are inadequately enforced. Consequently, when speaking with farmworkers we often find that they have experienced illegally-low wages and other violations of their limited rights. FJ has a strong commitment to immigration reform; the large majority of farmworkers are immigrants, and a majority are undocumented. The broken immigration system contributes to the vulnerability of farmworkers to abuses and weakness in their bargaining power. One of our highest priorities is immigration reform that would provide undocumented immigrants with an opportunity to earn legal immigration status and citizenship. FJ is a recognized expert on the H-2A agricultural guestworker program and international labor recruitment abuses. Our policy analysis, public education, training, litigation and advocacy on immigration reform are relied upon by hundreds of organizations around the country and are widely respected in the nation's capital. We also advocate for stronger labor protections and enforcement by federal agencies, as well as more effective federal programs to address farmworkers' health and access to health care. In late 2015, we and allies won a major victory at the Environmental Protection Agency in the form of substantial improvements in its pesticide safety regulation, known as the Worker Protection Standard. When implemented, which will take our help, the training, disclosures, personal protective equipment, and rule against children handling agricultural pesticides should reduce pesticide poisoning. Pesticide exposures -- which can occur through direct contact as well as spray drift onto school playgrounds and homes -- can cause skin and eye diseases, serious birth defects, cancers, and even death. We are advocating for additional safety precautions at the EPA and the Department of Labor's OSHA. We have had success urging the Department of Labor to improve the quality and quantity of its enforcement of the minimum wage and other employment protections. Our litigation has made an impact on abuses, especially those associated with corporate farm operators that try to avoid responsibility by claiming they do not "employ" any farmworkers and by foisting all liability on "farm labor contractors." In addition, our health promotion staff train local community organizations to operate "train the trainer" programs based on community health workers ("promotores de salud" in Spanish). These programs address pesticide safety, HIV/AIDS, labor rights, and other issues and have been piloting the use of biological testing and cell phone/text messaging to enhance their value. Through traditional and social media, as well as newsletters and email updates, we educate the public and policymakers about the problems farmworker families face and the solutions to those problems. Our major reports on such issues as immigration, pesticides and labor abuse are widely circulated and valuable to reform efforts. The Farmworker Justice Board of Directors includes representatives of several major farmworker organizations, labor unions, public health experts, attorneys, and others committed to our mission. The staff is led by Bruce Goldstein, a labor and civil rights attorney, who has extensive experience as a litigator, advocate and coalition-builder and has 28 years of experience serving farmworkers and their communities. Farmworker Justice, based in Washington, D.C. and founded in 1981, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.