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Inventory of Farmworker Issues and Protections in the United States

March 31, 2011 The United Farmworkers Union (UFW) and the Bon Appétit Management Company released a report today entitled, Inventory of Farmworker Issues and Protections in the United States (PDF).

“More Americans than ever are interested in knowing where their food comes from, but even the most conscientious eaters and food industry professionals are usually in the dark about who picked it. Approximately 1.4 million crop farmworkers help plant, harvest, and pack the food grown throughout the United States; however, the conditions under which they work remain invisible. For the public, farmworker issues fall into a black hole that could be labeled “No data, no problem.” “

This report sheds some light into that ‘black hole’. They garnered information that was publicly available on several key issues, including wages, child and youth practices, unemployment insurance, heat stress, and worker’s compensation, from six states with the largest number of farmworkers (California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Florida, and North Carolina).

“The cross-sector partnership seeks to create incentives within the food system for greater accountability by employers, awareness on the part of public and industry, and transparency in the food system—and ultimately to promote safe and fair employment conditions for U.S. farmworkers.”

Today marks César Chávez‘s 84th birthday. Chávez was instrumental in fighting for farmworker rights. He founded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962, which later became the UFW. Chávez passed away in 1993, outside of Yuma, Arizona.

To understand further the importance of the role of unions for farmworkers, watch this video interview with Larry Kleinman of the Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United (PCUN):

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