Farm Workers Bill Not Quite Right:Co Farm Bureau
The bipartisan Farmworker Modernization Act offers a pathway to legalization for current workers and significant reforms to the H-2A visa program. It also adds a mandatory e-verify system.
Zach Reilly Director of Public Policy with Colorado Farm Bureau says he sees a lot of room for improvement. He points to changes in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) that employers must pay to all H-2A workers and U.S. workers. The bill freezes the wage rate for 2020 and bans increases greater than 3.25 percent in a single year -or decreases more than 1.5 percent.
“Sounds really great. We’re freezing it where it is and it can’t be increased more than 3.5 percent. But when you do the math, we took a 23 percent increase last year, what’s another 3.5 percent? But it also limits the ability for that wage to adjust downward in the bad years.
Other agriculture groups like the United Fresh Produce Association said while there is still work to be done it is pushing elected officials to support this effort.
Western Growers’s CEO said his organization is committed to moving the Farm Workforce Modernization Act forward this legislative session.