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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


We’re covering stories from around the nation including a victory for safety for nuclear site workers; President Trump chastises Republicans for not securing border wall funding; and a predicted spike in population fuels concerns about the need for care.

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Protections Not Enforced for Migrant Workers, Lawsuit Alleges

H-2A workers must be paid twice a month and receive a job description in writing, but FLOC says the U.S. Department of Labor isn't always enforcing the requirements. (Bob Jagendorf/flickr)
H-2A workers must be paid twice a month and receive a job description in writing, but FLOC says the U.S. Department of Labor isn't always enforcing the requirements. (Bob Jagendorf/flickr)
September 4, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As thousands of Tennesseans return to work after a long Labor Day weekend, allegations that the Department of Labor is not enforcing stipulations around wages and working conditions are coming to light.

It's the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), which accuses the DOL of not ensuring the agriculture industry abides by guidelines established for workers with H-2A visas.

"So, what that leads to is just workers being paid less, both guest workers coming from Mexico and other countries, as well as U.S. workers that are working in those jobs," explains Justin Flores, FLOC’s vice president.

An H-2A visa allows a foreign national entry into the United States for temporary or seasonal agricultural work.

The U.S. Department of Labor referred a request for comment to the Department of Justice, which declined to comment on this story.

Flores says while upholding the law regarding H-2A visas is the goal of FLOC’s lawsuit, there is a larger problem that needs to be addressed with manufacturers demanding bottom dollar pricing from their agriculture suppliers.

"We obviously want to see improved wages and working conditions for all workers in agriculture, but we see this only as only one small piece of the puzzle,” he states. “Right now, it's important to get manufacturers and purchasers of agricultural projects to improve their procurement processes."

Earlier this year, the Trump administration said it was looking to modernize the H-2A visa program by streamlining the process while ensuring protections for workers.

There are reports of a shortage of farm workers because of the recent immigration crackdown nationwide.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN