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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bush Administration to Slash Farm Worker Wages

December 10, 2008

Ramon Ramirez, President, PCUN (503) 989-0073
Erik Sorensen, Communications, CAUSA (503) 789-8213

Bush Administration to Slash Farm Worker Wages and Enable Growers Replace Domestic Workers with Foreign Laborers

PCUN and CAUSA Echo the Call for Congress to Reverse New H2A Agricultural Guest Worker Program Regulations

Salem, Ore--The Bush Administration has announced that it will change the H2A agricultural guest worker program to make it easier for growers to cut the pay of domestic farm workers, reduce housing benefits and to hire imported foreign laborers instead of U.S. field workers.

According to a United Farm Workers (UFW) release, the new regulations would mean that farm employers will no longer be responsible for certifying that labor shortages exists and therefore engage in meaningful recruitment of U.S. farm workers before requesting imported H2A foreign field workers. In addition, for the first time domestic workers could be paid less and receive fewer benefits than their H-2A guestworker counterparts. The changes come even as the administration has failed to enforce existing rules.

"This is not the solution we need", said Ramon Ramirez, President of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United)."Cutting wages and reducing benefits of farm workers will not solve our nation's economic problem. In addition, they ignore the needs of providing a safe and reliable agricultural work force for the future."

PCUN and CAUSA echo the call of United Farm Workers (UFW) and others in urging Congress to reverse the Bush Administration's regulatory changes as hiring for the upcoming growing season commences.

Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United), is Oregon's union of farmworkers, nursery, and reforestation workers, and Oregon's largest Latino organization. CAUSA is Oregon's statewide, grassroots immigrant rights coalition. We work to defend and advance immigrant rights through coordination with local, state, and national coalitions and allies.



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