Last week, two elderly farmworkers took the brave and very unusual step of suing their employer, an onion grower in the Coachella Valley, for violating the few labor laws that protect farmworkers. California is one of the few states that require farmworkers to be paid the minimum wage. Farmworkers are exempt from many federal labor laws. These gaps were detailed in the Inventory of Farmworker Issues and Protections in the United States. We’ve created a new, educational slideshow based on key facts and statistics from the Inventory for educational purposes.
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The conditions that farmworkers face in the everyday course of trying to do their jobs are grueling, often dangerous, and sometimes even abusive. It’s the age-old “if a tree falls in the forest” riddle: if these problems are invisible to most Americans, do they really exist? The answer is yes, of course they do. And I am proud to have worked on a 65-page report about farmworker employment issues that documents them.