LULAC, Farmworker Justice & Justice for Migrant Women Join Forces Calling for Legislation that Protects Working Families
Nation’s Oldest & Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Teams Up with Other Workers Rights Organizations Calling for Legislation that Provides Unemployment Benefits, Testing, and Treatment for All Workers Amid Devastating Pandemic
Washington, DC - Today, the League of United Latin American (LULAC), Farmworker Justice and Justice for Migrant Women are calling on legislators to represent the interests of all working families, including an estimated two to three million farmworkers who are employed across the United States. Farmworkers earn poverty-level wages, work under substandard conditions and face a myriad of health and other issues due to their living and employment conditions.
The organizations are collaborating to advocate for legislation that would allow all individuals in need to obtain unemployment benefits, testing and treatment as the COVID-19 pandemic leaves working-families devastated, especially farmworkers, who are essential workers that feed our country.
Domingo Garcia, LULAC President issued the following statement:
“Our farmworkers are the ones who provide us with the food on our table -- and now, with a global pandemic devastating families -- those same workers are left wondering how they will put food on their own tables. Farmworkers feed the world through their labor, bringing fruits, vegetables and other crops to homes across the nation. We are gravely concerned about the health and welfare of the farmworker community and their families as they continue to do backbreaking work to secure our nation’s entire food supply. As Congress drafts policies that will impact these families, they must consider the urgency of protecting all people, including the workers that often get left behind but are so vital for our food supply and economy.”
Sindy Benavides, LULAC CEO issued the following statement:
“We are grateful for all of those who are addressing issues at all levels of government, not to mention those who are on the frontlines battling it. It is our hope as these plans are being devised that farmworkers are not forgotten or left behind. To this end, we seek to raise concerns around some of the risks to the farmworker community should sweeping policies be enacted or procedures adopted without care to the unique concerns of differing communities.”
Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice, issued the following statement:
“Farmworkers labor on our farms and ranches to feed us so effectively that the government has deemed them ‘essential’ to keep working despite the risks of COVID-19, but farmworker families continue to face extraordinarily difficult circumstances that will worsen due to the pandemic.
The broken immigration system has allowed us to take advantage of farmworkers’ labor but subjected many of them to an undocumented status that deprives them of many things most of us take for granted, including decent wages, paid sick leave, health insurance, and unemployment compensation. Even documented farmworkers are subjected to discriminatory employment laws based on their occupation. It is imperative that Congress and the states do more than say farmworkers are ‘essential,’ and must help them prevent illness, obtain medical testing and treatment, gain sick leave and unemployment compensation, and other protections.”
Mónica Ramírez, Founder & President of Justice for Migrant Women, issued the following statement:
“We are gravely concerned about the health and welfare of the farmworker community, their families and the security of our entire food supply in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Farmworkers are essential workers, yet they are denied the most basic protections under the law. Many also work under deplorable conditions and a large number live in migrant labor camps, which will leave them vulnerable to this virus. While political leaders are swiftly taking measures in order to contain the outbreak, slow the spread of the virus and save lives, decisions are being made that have an impact on the lives and livelihoods of workers, including farmworkers. We urge Congress to pass a bill that takes care of all workers, including ensuring that every worker is eligible for unemployment benefits, testing, and treatment for all amid this devastating pandemic.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/
About Farmworker Justice
Farmworker Justice is a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety, and access to justice. For more information, visit https://www.farmworkerjustice.org/
About Justice for Migrant Women
Justice for Migrant Women protects and advances migrant women’s rights through education, public awareness and advocacy. Justice for Migrant Women aims to ensure that all migrant women are guaranteed human and civil rights, including the freedom of mobility, the ability to live and work with dignity, and the right to be free of threats of violence against them and their families, whether they are migrating across borders, around regions or within states. For more information, visit https://justice4women.org/