From LABOR-L@YorkU.CA Tue Feb 22 09:48:04 2000
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 08:40:16 -0500
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YorkU.CA>
From: Jim W. Jaszewski <jjazz@HWCN.ORG>
Subject: [Fwd: [LLO] san: Protect Farmworkers Rights (US)]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [LLO] san: Protect Farmworkers Rights (US)
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 07:08:48 -0500
Reply-To: Labour Left Opposition <>

Labour Left Opposition—

[Letter writing campaign to end an abuse of migrant farmworkers’ rights]

From the Institute for Southern Studies, 22 February 2000

Dear Friend of Farmworkers:

The Institute For Southern Studies is calling for a letter writing campaign to end an abuse of migrant farmworkers’ rights. At stake is the unfettered right of farmworkers to invite guests of their choice (including legal and health professionals) into their homes.

Not only is this their constitutional right, but it is also often the only way for migrants to contact independent observers, legal aid and healthcare professionals. Usually lacking transportation, unmonitored mail, and even a phone, farmworkers who are being exploited or poisoned by pesticides need to be able to have service providers in their homes. But this right is threatened by the very contracts which bring foreign workers to the US.

The federal H2A program allows growers to bring foreign guestworkers, primarily from Mexico, into to the United states as farmworkers. These workers are bound by contracts, the language of which they have no control over. In fact, the workers don’t even see the contract until they have accepted the work and are already in this country.

The contract, or clearance order, written by the North Carolina Growers Association (NCGA), which serves as the principle employer of guestworkers in North Carolina, contains a waiver of farmworker’s tenancy rights. Growers have used this waiver to justify barring workers from inviting visitors into their homes.

Although, for now, workers have no say over the language of their contracts, the US Department of Labor does. RIGHT NOW the USDOL is in the process of approving H2A contracts. The DOL must not approve clearance orders that contain the waiver of tenancy. Instead, the DOL must make it clear to growers that farmworkers have the right to invite whomever they choose into their homes.

Please write to: The Honorable Secretary Herman, Secretary of Labor, USDOL, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20210-0001 and make it clear that these clearance orders must not be approved so long as they include the waiver of tenancy.

Or, go to for an easy-to-send email to the DOL.

For more info contact Lela Klein at (919) 419-8311 x25.