Joint Statement of Agriculture Workforce Coalition and the United Farm Workers on Senate Judiciary Committee

Washington, D.C. (May 9, 2013)—“The Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) and the United Farm Workers (UFW) today applaud Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy for holding the markup of S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act.

“The comprehensive immigration reform proposal — including its agricultural provisions negotiated by the AWC and UFW — was introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators last month.

“The deal reached by the AWC and the UFW is a major step forward to finding a lasting solution to the issue of current and future agricultural labor in the U.S. Under the Senate proposal, undocumented farm workers would have the opportunity to obtain legal status by continuing to work in agriculture. The bill also includes critical labor protections for domestic and foreign workers.

“We would further like to thank Senators Dianne Feinstein, Marco Rubio, Michael Bennet, and Orrin Hatch for their efforts to build the atmosphere of trust and collaboration that helped make the AWC/UFW agreement possible.

“Agriculture—both employers and workers—stand united in support of the agriculture provisions contained in S. 744, and we look forward to working with Congress throughout this process.”

About The United Farm Workers of America (UFW)

Founded in 1962 by Cesar Chavez, the United Farm Workers of America is the nation’s first successful and largest farm workers union currently active in 10 states. The UFW continues to organize in major agricultural industries across the nation. Recent years have witnessed dozens of key UFW union contract victories, among them the largest strawberry, rose, dairy and mushroom firms in the nation and among the largest vegetable and dairy farms in the nation. Many recent UFW-sponsored laws and regulations aide farm workers. In California, the first state regulation in the U.S. prevents further heat deaths of farm workers. The UFW is also pushing for the historic bipartisan and broadly backed immigration reform bill.

About the Agriculture Workforce Coalition

The Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) brings together organizations representing the diverse needs of agricultural employers across the country. AWC serves as the unified voice of agriculture in the effort to ensure that America’s farmers, ranchers and growers have access to a stable and secure workforce.

To help achieve this goal, the AWC has reached a landmark agreement with the United Farm Workers union that presents a viable solution to agriculture’s labor needs. The proposal includes both an earned adjustment in status for current agricultural employees who presently lack legal status and a program to ensure an adequate farm workforce in the future. Also, unlike current programs such as H-2A, this agreement would mean that all types of producers—including both those with seasonal labor needs and ones with year-round labor needs—have access to the workforce they need to remain productive and competitive.


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Why Action is Needed
There is a shortage of U.S. workers willing and able to perform farm work. Farmers, ranchers and growers need a new way to ensure that they can find reliable, skilled, hardworking employees.