Tuesday, March 28, 2023


Nashville mourns six dead in the latest mass shooting, the EPA takes public input on a proposal to clean up Pennsylvania's drinking water, and find ways to get more Zzz's during Sleep Awareness Month.


A shooting leaves six dead at a school in Nashville, the White House commends Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to pause judicial reform, and mayors question the reach of state and federal authorities over local decisions.


Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

WA Bill Would Update Protections for Farmworkers on Contract


Wednesday, January 22, 2020   

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The landscape for farms and farmworkers has changed significantly in the past 70 years, so farm workers' advocates want the Evergreen State to update the Washington Farm Labor Contractor Act.

This week, legislators held a hearing on Senate Bill 6261, including testimony from farmworkers. Antonio Ginatta, policy director at Columbia Legal Services, said it's part of an effort to address reform to the H2A program, which allows guest farmworkers from other countries into the United States on temporary visas. He noted that about one-third of the agriculture workforce comes from outside the United States.

"There wasn't an H2A visa program back in the '50s [or] back in '85, the last time this Farm Labor Contractor Act was actually amended," he said. "So, what we're trying to do is modernize it, is make it relevant to agricultural industry in Washington today."

Ginatta said the bill would clarify liability for farm employers who use unlicensed contractors and address retaliation against workers who speak up about labor concerns. At Tuesday's hearing, ag industry representatives said the retaliation provision in this bill is too expansive and would be onerous to employers.

For workers in the state through the H2A program, retaliation for speaking up about labor conditions is a concern. Edgar Franks, political director of the northwest Washington farmworkers' union Familias Unidas por la Justicia, said H2A laborers have been denied the opportunity to work in the country again if they strike or seek help from organizations such as his.

"We've seen the issue of blacklisting now as a way that farm labor contractors and employers retaliate against workers that they think are 'unruly,'" he said.

Rosalinda Guillen, executive director of the farmworker advocacy group Community to Community Development, said the bill also would address a loophole that exempts nonprofits from the Washington Farm Labor Contractor Act. She said she doesn't believe farmworker recruiters should be able to hold nonprofit status.

"It's a profit-making operation, and we believe that farm labor contractors in the state of Washington should not be nonprofits," she said. "So, that's one of the biggest things this bill is addressing."

The text of SB 6261 is online at app.leg.wa.gov.

Disclosure: Community to Community Development contributes to our fund for reporting on Human Rights/Racial Justice, Livable Wages/Working Families, Poverty Issues, Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Black Americans are the most likely to suffer from insufficient sleep. (ChadBridwell/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

March is Sleep Awareness Month and health experts say Americans are not getting enough of it. United Health Foundation data found more than 32% of …


Environmental groups are seeking greater input as California puts the finishing touches on its application to become a hub for hydrogen fuel productio…

Social Issues

This month marks 160 years since the first Medal of Honor was awarded by President Abraham Lincoln. More than a dozen of the 65 recipients alive …

According to The Medal of Honor Museum and Foundation, 3,514 men and one woman have won the Medal of Honor in service of their country from the Civil War to the present day. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

160 years ago, Civil War soldiers were awarded the first Medals of Honor. Now, a Medal of Honor Monument will soon be built on the National Mall in …

Social Issues

The meat processing industry continues to face scrutiny over labor practices in states like Minnesota. Proposed legislation would update a 2007 law…

A report published in late February says children of mothers who are abused or neglected were more likely to demonstrate symptoms and behaviors linked to depression, along with other health issues. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

New findings suggest health effects stemming from child maltreatment can be passed on to the next generation. In South Dakota, leaders in early-…

Social Issues

Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle will pay workers at its former location in Augusta, Maine as part of a settlement over labor law violations…


One Arizona mayor is among the more than 2,800 elected city officials in Washington, D.C., this week for The National League of Cities' Congressional …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021