Bakersfield, California 2021-12-05 19:30:00 –
Tens of thousands of guest farm workers in California and farm workers in the United States will see wage increases in 2022. This is attributed to a lawsuit to prevent wage freezes during the Trump era.
The wage increase is based on the USDA’s annual survey of agricultural labor released on November 24th. The survey and its findings will be used to determine the wage rate of temporary seasonal agricultural workers hired through the H-2A program.
Wages were proposed as a wage freeze proposed under former President Donald Trump to help farmers who had lost profits and fallowed land as a result of the closure in early 2020. The withdrawal was at stake. Agriculture over the proposed wages has frozen and secured an injunction to suspend the ruling.
Bruce Goldstein, President of Washington, DC-based Agricultural Workers Justice, said: In an email statement to Fresnoby.
Proposed credit proceedings to raise wages
Beginning in April 2020, the Trump administration has announced that it is considering reducing wages for guest farmers as a way to help farmers who have seen business disruptions during a pandemic outage.
Then, in November 2020, the Trump administration officially announced a wage freeze for guest agricultural workers. This was celebrated by the highest executives in agriculture.
The ruling is fixed at the 2019 minimum wage, employers are required to pay foreign agricultural workers H-2A visas, and estimate to save an estimated $ 1.6 billion in labor costs to farmers and producers over a 10-year period. it was done.
Earlier this month, Fresno County announced that 2020 would be a record year for total plant and livestock value production in excess of $ 7.98 billion.
Advocates said wage freezes were unfair, as agricultural workers, who were officially declared essential workers during the pandemic, were working at their lives. Producers say wage freezes are essential to keep farms running and grocery store inventories as the pandemic outage disrupts the food supply chain.
In response to the proposed wage freeze, Agricultural Workers Justice and its advisory lawyers, on behalf of trade unions and the UFW Foundation, have suspended Trump wage freeze regulations claiming that agricultural workers are already living on low wages. I won an injunction to do so in late December last year. income. The group is critical of the H-2A program, stating that the program has failed for both US and foreign workers.
In a related case, UFW and the UFW Foundation also sued the Department of Agriculture last fall, overturning the USDA’s September 30 order and government agricultural worker data to help determine wages and eligibility for family support programs. Has stopped collecting. The union argued that guest workers’ wages would drop sharply without survey collection, as the union has no data to establish new wage rates other than the state’s minimum wage.
How much salary increase do California guest workers receive?
The exact number of agricultural workers with rising wages is estimated to be tens of thousands. However, the negative wage rate applies to both H-2A workers and US workers who are employers of the H-2A program, Goldstein said.
According to Labor Ministry data, California has more than 30,000 certified H-2A positions, accounting for more than 10.2 percent of all certified H-2A positions nationwide.
“Employers in H-2A programs often offer the minimum wages they need, so we expect tens of thousands of agricultural workers hired in California in 2022 to benefit from this wage adjustment. “Goldstein said.
The USDA Farm Workers Survey includes average wages for crop and livestock workers surveyed in the area the previous year. This is also known as the negative wage rate (AEWR). According to Farmworker Justice, the minimum wage rate for H-2A in 2022 will increase by about 6% from the 2021 rate on a national average.
Employers hiring H-2A workers are required to pay a state-specific minimum wage. This may not be lower than AEWR. In California, the wage rate for H-2A workers was $ 14.77 in 2020 and $ 16.05 in 2021. In 2022, state H-2A workers will wage $ 17.51 per hour, jumping from 2020 wages to $ 2.74 an hour.
Melissa Montalbo is a reporter for The Fresno Bee and a member of the American Corps. This article is part of the California Divide, a collaboration between newsrooms investigating California’s income inequality and economic survival.
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