810 People Investigating 165 Million Farm Workers

810 People Investigating 165 Million Farm Workers

Haylie Shipp
Haylie Shipp
With your Southeast Regional Ag News, I am Haylie Shipp. This is the Ag Information Network.

“Employers routinely underpay farmworkers, among other workplace violations, but federal investigations into these problems have dropped to an all-time low, likely because of funding and staffing constraints.”

That is the summary coming out of a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute. Recounting the key findings from the assessment, they say that:

• Since 2000, investigations by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division have plummeted by over 60%.

• With a mere 810 investigators to protect all 165 million workers in the U.S., the Wage and Hour Division currently investigates fewer than 1% of farm employers per year.

• From 2000 to 2022, violations of the H-2A visa program—which allows U.S. employers to hire migrant farmworkers for seasonal jobs—accounted for roughly half of back wages and civil money penalties owed by farm employers. These violations accounted for nearly three-fourths during the Biden administration.

To ready the full report, head to: https://www.epi.org/publication/record-low-farm-investigations/

From EPI, they say that Congress should stop “hobbling the Department of Labor” and provide resources for the strong enforcement of farmworker protections.

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