In Reaction to Reports that the Trump Administration is Considering Reducing Farmworker Pay In Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Abby Maxman, President and CEO, Oxfam America said today:

By Oxfam

“At a time when America is relying more than ever on the heroic work of frontline workers to maintain our food supplies and essential services, the Trump Administration’s efforts to cut farmworker pay in agriculture are absolutely outrageous. Seeking to shift the burden of this crisis onto some of the most vulnerable and underappreciated workers in our society is a harsh slap in the face to every worker who is risking their lives to do essential work. These workers rightly expect and deserve our gratitude, respect, and fair compensation for their labor.

“Farmworkers are risking their lives and safety, and those of their families, to earn a living in already precarious and dangerous working conditions. Those who arrive through our guestworker programs risk exploitation, hazards and mistreatment to come and grow the food Americans consume. Now this Administration also seeks to cut their pay at a time of greatest need—It is cruel and misguided to threaten worker livelihoods in this way.”

“If implemented, these potential changes to the wage rate would reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of how to respond to the economic crisis that is emerging from this pandemic. We need to be investing more in workers, rather than less. We need to be circling the wagons around our essential workers, especially those in the food production chain, and celebrating and including them in all of our responses. The Administration should focus its efforts on getting the billions in Congressionally authorized relief they already have out to farmers, and on the wide range of other vital roles that the government plays in ensuring worker well-being, food security and fighting poverty in America, rather than taking the opportunity to advance an anti-worker agenda.”

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