New Rules Strengthen Worker Protections within the H-2B Visa Program, Yet May Drive Down Wages

May 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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Press release from  Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.  and   Migrant Defense Committee

(see below for espanol)

On April 29th, 2015, the U.S. Departments of Labor (DOL) and Homeland Security (DHS) published two new rules in the H-2B visa program that establish groundbreaking protections for transnational migrants and U.S. workers alike. The new rulemaking is in response to a court’s decision that cast uncertainty on the program’s future. Workers with H-2B visas come to the United States for a temporary period of time to work in industries such as landscaping, seafood, fairs, and hospitality. Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM) has advocated for H-2B workers’ rights on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border for nearly 10 years. CDM applauds the critical worker protections provided by the comprehensive H-2B rule, which will be finalized after a 60-day comment period. However, CDM is concerned by loopholes in the H-2B wage rule, which may cut workers’ wages.  Protections in the comprehensive rule for H-2B migrant workers include:

  • Job Contracts. Employers must provide a copy of the job order to each H-2B worker in a language the worker understands no later than when Read more


January 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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By David Bacon  in Equal Times, 1/28/15OAKLAND, CA — In an escalating dispute with President Barack Obama, Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in mid-January, which would cut any funding from the Department of Homeland Security for suspending the deportation of undocumented people.  In December the President ordered the department, beginning this spring, to defer the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have children born in the U.S., who are thus U.S. citizens.

A previous Obama order suspended the deportation of young people without documents, brought to the U.S. as children.  The Republican bill would rescind both orders.

A new, Republican-dominated Congress took office in January.  Congress must fund the department by Feb. 27 or it could shut down.  President Obama has threatened to veto this bill, and while there are enough Republican votes in the Senate to pass it, there are not enough to override a veto. Read more

Another farmworker union leader fired – retaliation from Sakuma Bros.

August 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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On Monday August 11th over 150 Sakuma Bros Farms blueberry pickers, members of Familias Unidas por la Justicia  protested and assembled a picket line at the farm’s field office on Benson Road to protest the firing of a union leader, unreliable lunch break times, onerous piece-rates and a new disciplinary scheme that was imposed by the company.

Cornelio Ramirez, a Familias Unidas por la Justicia negotiation committee member has been the target of an internal campaign by the management of sakuma Berry Farms to seek out and discipline farm workers who are sympathetic to the independent farm worker union with a previously un-enforced company hand-book that establishes a warning based discipline system. The farm workers do not even have a copy of this handbook. Cornelio received two warnings for talking back to company representatives (a labor contractor and an anti-union consultant), one warning for using his cell phone to record a conversation in Spanish, his second language, and another for “picking too slow”. Read more

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