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Weeding out abuses

Recommendations for a law-abiding farm labor system

Every day, farmworkers awake at the crack of dawn and head out to the fields to harvest the fruits and vegetables that feed our nation. It’s a grueling, backbreaking, seasonal job, one of the most dangerous occupations in the country, and it exacts a heavy toll on the health of farmworkers and their families.

The poor conditions for farmworkers in this country exist, in part, because of the fundamental lack of enforcement of basic labor standards. Employers that do not feel threatened by labor law enforcement often take the risk of paying less than the minimum wage to save money. Businesses that wish to comply with the law but compete against such labor law violators feel pressure to violate the law as well or to pay the bare minimum. This spiraling down of labor standards must be thwarted.

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