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Jul 9, 2021  |  VIEW IN BROWSER

 

AFOP Members Anticipate PY2021 NFJP Grant Awards

Kendra Moesle, Director of Workforce Development
July 8, 2021

 
Happy belated 245th birthday to our great nation!  This year saw the return of the spectacular fireworks show on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall, and it was truly a sight to see.

At the time of this publication, however, AFOP members are not yet celebrating – rather, they are eagerly awaiting their PY2021 NFJP awards.  AFOP Executive Director Daniel Sheehan and President of the Board Jeffrey Lewis recently visited with ETA officials during Mr. Lewis’s visit to Washington, and they were assured that the Department of Labor is doing all it can to get awards out quickly. 

Since the July 1st start of the new program year has already passed, AFOP has been working closely with DOL and our members in alerting ETA which grantees are low on PY2020 funds.  Fortunately, the 5th quarter spending flexibility does give AFOP members a buffer, but delayed PY21 grant awards ultimately penalize members who were fiscally responsible and spent their PY2020 awards on time.

In the meantime, we have been working behind the scenes to strengthen the National Farmworker Jobs Program.  In this new program year 2021, NFJP will be $2 million stronger, and grantees can start applying the new low-income definition, which raises the income threshold to 150% of poverty guidelines.  Since the new threshold is tied to PY21 appropriations, members may spend both funding streams at the same time, provided that they apply the new guidelines and track spending appropriately (see: TEGL 18-16 Change 1).

As always, our thoughts are with the farmworkers, who are laboring in record-high temperatures this summer.  On Saturday, June 26th, farmworker Sebastian Francisco Perez died of heat-related causes while working at a nursery in St. Paul, Oregon.  Tragic deaths like his occur all too predictably with every heat wave and are precisely why this country needs a federal heat standard and better labor protections for farmworkers.  Please participate in AFOP Health & Safety’s campaign this week to raise awareness about the heat-related dangers farmworkers face while laboring to produce our nation’s food.

Inside AFOP

AFOP Welcomes NMSHSA Summer Intern

Janet Dominguez Working on Farmworker Policy


AFOP has a new (virtual) staff member this summer:  NMSHSA intern Janet Dominguez.  Janet is a recent graduate from the University of Idaho, where she studied Biology and laid the groundwork to achieve her dream of becoming a dentist.  Years ago, she was a different kind of graduate, from El Arcoiris, a Head Start program run by the Community Council of Idaho.  This was the experience that helped qualify her for the NMSHSA internship.

While growing up in Idaho, Janet says that her parents “used to move from town to town, chasing the crops to work in whatever was available,” but that they eventually settled in Mountain Home.  “Even though Mountain Home isn’t some grand city,” Janet stated, “it’s the place that shaped who I am.”

Read more of Janet’s story here.

Heat-Stress Prevention Marathon Taking Place July 11-17

AFOP Health & Safety

 
AFOP’s Health & Safety Programs has again organized an annual Heat Stress Prevention Training Marathon, with the purpose to educate and provide tools to farmworkers about how to prevent suffering from a heat-related illness. This training marathon started this past Monday, July 11th, and will continue through Saturday July 17th.  We expect to train over 1,000 farmworkers during this week, through interactive, low literacy, bilingual training.

To participate in the campaign, visit our website or go to our Health & Safety Facebook page,

CIFC Art Featured in High-Level Events for World Day Against Child Labor

International Labour Organization

June 12, 2021

 
In celebration of the World Day Against Child Labor, International Labour Organization (ILO) USA, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Child Labor Coalition showcased artwork and essays submitted by farmworker children to the CIFC Essay & Art Contest over the years.  The events brought to the forefront labor abuses suffered by American children in the fields, even as the ILO sought to highlight a new report detailing a sharp rise in child labor worldwide for the first time in two decades. 
 
To see a recording of the event, “The Pandemic’s Impact and the Challenge of Child Labor in Agriculture” led by our partners at the National Consumers League, click here.

PathStone Wins Two Grants to Help Formerly Incarcerated Find Jobs

USDOL
June 21, 2021

 
More than $85 million has been awarded by ETA to organizations that will help connect people involved in the justice system with career training and job opportunities.   The awards derive from two ETA programs, the Pathway Home program and the Young Adult Reentry Partnership program, both of which will aid current or formerly incarcerated individuals and ease their transition back into society.  Two of these grants went to AFOP member PathStone Corporation.  Congratulations, PathStone!
 
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Farmworker Health & Safety

Oregon Farmworker Dies in Willamette Valley Heat

Oregon OSHA Responds by Enacting Strict Temporary Heat Standard
KGW8
June 29, 2021

 
Sebastian Francisco Perez, a farmworker from Guatemala, died Saturday, June 26th, at a workplace in St. Paul, Oregon, as temperatures in the area that day topped 104 degrees.  Aaron Corvin, a spokesperson for Oregon OSHA, said the agency has opened investigations into Brother Farm Labor Contractor and Ernst Nursery and Farms. Mr. Perez was working on a crew moving irrigation lines.
 
In response to Mr. Perez’s tragic death, Oregon OSHA also released a strict emergency rule on July 8th that, if made permanent, would be the most protective in the nation.  The rule requires employers, beginning August 1st, to ensure that all employees and supervisors are trained in a number of heat stress related topics, including how to identify symptoms of heat-related illness.  The new rule is being applauded by farmworker advocates across the country, as they call on the federal government to issue a similar standard nationwide to protect all workers.

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Helping to Spread the Word to Farmworkers about Coronavirus Vaccine Availability

UC Berkeley Health Initiative of the Americas

July 8, 2021


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has created the Juntos Sí Podemos campaign to promote confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine, motivate prevention, and support grassroots faith-based organizations in their efforts to reach out and educate the community.  The Health Initiative of the Americas invites you to participate in a webinar on July 15th to train on the use of materials and tools offered by this campaign.

See more.

Click here to register.

As the Climate Emergency Grows, Farmworkers Lack Protection from Deadly Heat

Civil Eats

June 14, 2021

 
Two recently published reports provide a stark view into the largely ignored public health risks facing the 2.4 million farmworkers in the U.S., including 524,000 child workers, whose lives and labor have long been devalued.  Although COVID-19 has heightened public awareness of the dangerous working conditions faced by farmworkers, the reports call attention to the fact that this hasn’t led to substantive policy change, including from extreme heat.
 
 “Essentially Unprotected,” published by Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS), documents farmworkers’ dire lack of critical labor protections from extreme heat and pesticide exposure. 
 
Essential and in Crisis,” written by three researchers at John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF),  details the longstanding injustices compromising farmworkers’ health, including gender-based violence, crowded housing, a lack of health insurance, food insecurity, a fear of speaking out due to retaliation or deportation, and exemptions from critical labor laws.
 
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Farmworker Children

Photo credit © Human Rights Watch


AFOP in the News about Farmworker Child Study in North Carolina

Progressive Pulse
July 13, 2021

 
AFOP is mentioned in an article about recent research into child labor in North Carolina.  The 2017 study of 202 child laborers across twenty counties in North Carolina revealed that not only are children still being employed at very young ages, but that they are asked to work long hours and in hazardous conditions.  Two-thirds of the children reported experiencing an injury while working in farm work, while nearly half had experienced at least one heat-related illness symptom.
 
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Photo Credit © Fashion Innovation Alliance
 

Harris Calls for Pathway to Citizenship for Dreamers on DACA Anniversary

The Hill
June 15, 2021

 
Vice President Harris renewed a push for immigration reform on Tuesday, June 15th, calling on Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants during a meeting with immigrant care workers.

The push from Harris came on the ninth anniversary of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“Even with DACA in place, we know that Dreamers live in a constant state of fear about their status and about their future,” Harris said. “It is critically important that we provide a pathway to citizenship to give people a sense of certainty and a sense of security.”

Read more

Child Labor Rises to 160 Million – First Increase in Two Decades

UNICEF
June 9, 2021

 
The number of children in child labor has risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years – with millions more at risk due to the impacts of COVID-19, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF.  The report points to a significant rise in the number of children aged 5 to 11 years in child labour, who now account for just over half of the total global figure.

Though the numbers for the U.S. are not known, AFOP & its members have heard many anecdotal reports of farmworker kids going to work in the fields when schools shut down in 2020.  For some farmworker youth who never returned to school, the change wrought a serious and lasting effect on their once-bright futures.

Read more

College Graduate Honors Parents with Photos Taken in Field Where They Work

ABC News
June 14, 2021

 
Jennifer Rocha, a recent graduate from UC San Diego, decided to honor her parents by taking graduation photos in the farm fields where she worked alongside her parents to support her education. With her degree in sociology with an emphasis in law and society, her plan is to pursue a career in law enforcement. Rocha found it important to include her parents in her graduation photos not only to honor them, but also to honor all the migrant skilled workers that are often forgotten. She hopes her photos and her story will be an inspiration to immigrant families.

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Workforce Development

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks highlighting the benefits of Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, at La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility, in La Crosse, Wisconsin, U.S., June 29, 2021.  Photo © USA Today
 

House Appropriators to Fund Parts of Biden’s Workforce Plan

ETR
July 9, 2021

 
While the infrastructure plan coming together in Washington does not include workforce needs, the House Appropriations Committee has added to the fiscal year 2022 Labor-HHS-Education bill a significant $270 billion increase over fiscal year 2021.  With that firmly in mind, stakeholders in workforce development are calling on Congress to provide for Biden’s workforce development proposals in concert with the infrastructure investments. An infrastructure sector advisory panel organized by the National Skills Coalition and Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships to offer advice to policy makers in the recovery made this a top priority. A coalition of more than 30 organizations which was organized by the think tanks New America and America Achieves, which includes the NSC, made a case in a joint letter sent to House and Senate leaders on July 8.

“Without an investment in workforce development and policy, employers will struggle to find the qualified workers needed to fill infrastructure, clean energy, care and other in-demand jobs now and in the coming years .... Upcoming legislation must ensure that millions of people hit hardest by the pandemic will have a shot at accessing good jobs and careers, including millions created by an infrastructure plan,” the letter says.
(Photo by Lenin Nolly/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)
 

House Spending Bill Would Boost NFJP in Fiscal Year 2022 by nearly $3 Million

Daniel Sheehan, AFOP Executive Director
July 12, 2021

 
The House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee’s version of the fiscal year 2022 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill would fund NFJP from July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023 at the president’s increased request level of $96.711 million, an increase of $2.815 million over the current fiscal year 2021 level of $93.986 million (which itself is $2 million more than in FY20).  The bill would also retain a looser low-income definition and DOL’s authority to begin processing NFJP grant plans prior to the beginning of the next program year.  By funding mainline Youth at a sufficiently high level, the bill would also provide an additional separate $2.544 million for migrant and seasonal farmworker youth activities.  The full House Appropriations Committee will soon clear the bill for consideration later this summer by the full House of Representatives.

USDA Releases Resource Guide for Rural Workforce Development

June 10, 2021

 
USDA is prioritizing collaborations with its federal partners to help start and grow thousands of businesses and give individuals the educational and financial tools to succeed in rural America.  As part of those efforts, the USDA created a guide for community leaders and other local entities to help them access resources to create jobs, train talent, expand educational opportunities and provide technical assistance.

The guide highlights four key assistance types necessary to building a stronger rural workforce:
  1. Workforce development planning
  2. Infrastructure and equipment financing
  3. Industry and employer engagement, entrepreneurship and local business development
  4. Education, training and apprenticeship
 
Read more

New CSBG Grants Available Through CARES Act

Employment & Training Reporter
June 28, 2021

 
The Administration for Children and Families is soliciting applications for grants under an opportunity titled Community Services Block Grant CARES Act Rapid-Cycle Impact Projects. This prioritizes job training projects. The solicitation presents an expectation that grantees will approach their poverty-alleviation projects with rapid-cycle learning and continuous improvement.  Awards ranging from $150,000 to $250,000 will be available to support projects of up to 15 months.  CSBG-eligible entities are eligible to apply.  Applications are due July 26.
 
Find this solicitation and apply at www.grants.gov, using funding opportunity number HHS-2021-ACF-OCS-ET-1959.
 
Read more

Inside USDOL

USDOL Releases Updated NFJP Program Eligibility Guidance

July 12, 2021

 
The U.S. Department of Labor has released Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 18-16 Change 1.  The first update to NFJP eligibility guidelines in over four years, TEGL 18-16 Change 1 covers a range of topics, including how to calculate income, the definition of family, the new 150% poverty guidelines, reportable individuals, DACA eligibility, and more.  The National Office is planning a series of trainings on this TEGL in August, and requests that, until then, grantees direct their inquiries to their FPO, with a cc: to nfjp@dol.gov.
 
Read more
 

Former AFOP CIFC Director Norma Flores López Honored with Prestigious Award

USDOL
June 10, 2021

 
This year’s Iqbal Masih Award was given to two recipients:  the International Labour Organization, and Ms. Norma Flores López, former Director of AFOP’s Children in the Fields Campaign and now Chief Programs Officer for Justice for Migrant Women.  For nearly 20 years, Flores López has been a leader in the fight to end exploitative child labor.  She led the Child Labor Coalition’s Domestic Issues Committee for the last decade in support of improved protections for child farmworkers and other vulnerable children, and prior to that, she started the CIFC Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Children’s Art & Essay Contest at AFOP.  Congratulations, Norma!
 
Read more

U.S. Department of Labor Issues its June 2021 Jobs Report

July 2, 2021

 
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported the American economy added 850,000 jobs in the month of June, with unemployment standing at 5.9 percent, compared to the 5.8 percent it stood at in May.   Americans are going back to work in large numbers, but this is no time to let up.  With the addition of more than 3 million jobs since President Biden took office, this increasingly strong job growth reflects increasing confidence among workers as more people get vaccinated and American Rescue Plan investments provide stability for families, businesses, and communities.

Read more

Best Practices on Preventing Heat Illnesses at Work

May 27, 2021

 
In 2019, exposure to heat led to 43-work related deaths and 2,410 injuries and illnesses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With temperatures rising, so does the risk of heat hazards. The best practices on preventing heat illness at work include training all workers, following the 20% rule, and remembering water, rest, and shade. It’s important also to keep in mind that workers new to the job are at higher risk, hazardous heat exposure can happen indoors or outdoors, and engineering controls and modified work can reduce the risk of heat illness.

Read more

Poverty

“Help is Here”

CNBC
May 17, 2021

 
In describing the new expanded Child Tax Credit payments going out to 67 million households, covering some 88 percent of all children, President Biden said “Help is here.” 
 
Monthly payments through the new federal enhanced child tax credit will begin July 15.  The expanded credit was established in the American Rescue Plan signed into law in March.
 
Mom’s Rising, a Washington, D.C.-based anti-poverty advocacy group, has put out resources to help spread the word. 
 
Read more

These Are the 25 States Ending Extra Unemployment Benefits Early — and When

NextAdvisor
June 16, 2021

 
4.1 million unemployed workers are losing nearly three months’ worth of benefits, as 25 state governors have chosen to opt out of federal benefits prematurely.  Cutting expanded benefits so suddenly leaves many unemployed workers vulnerable.  Nationally, there are still 16.8 million workers on one of the unemployment programs, and the nation is still short 8 million- plus jobs from the start of the pandemic.

Following the states’ new deadlines, unemployed workers can still qualify for their state’s normal unemployment benefits if they lose their job or remain unemployed.  There are also pandemic-related safety nets to help with financial hardship. The CDC’s latest guidance extends the eviction moratorium until July 31st, stating that “this is intended to be the final extension of the moratorium.”  After that, people may still qualify for rental assistance depending on their state, and a handful of states are still offering utility forgiveness, as well.

Read more

Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2020 Released

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
May 17, 2021

 
According to results of the Federal Reserve Board’s annual bank stress tests, large banks continue to have strong capital levels and could continue lending to households and businesses during a severe recession.  However, the survey revealed that school closures and the shift from in-class to on-line learning, along with unavailable childcare had quite a significant impact on the economic wellbeing of families across the country.  22 percent of all parents in the survey were either not working or worked less because of disruptions to childcare or schooling.

You may access report, downloadable data, data visualizations, and a video summarizing the survey's findings on the Board's website here.

Farmworkers in the News

Roberto, shown at his home in the Rio Grande Valley, has been working in agriculture all his life, first in Mexico, then in the US. Photograph: Encarni Pindado/The Guardian
 

Meet the Workers Who Put Food on America’s Tables – But Can’t Afford Groceries

The Guardian
May 13, 2021

 
Even before the pandemic, farms were among the most dangerous workplaces in the country, where low-paid workers have little protection from long hours, repetitive strain injustices, exposures to pesticides, dangerous machinery, extreme heat, and animal waste. Food insecurity, poor housing, language barriers, and discrimination also contribute to dire health outcomes for farmworkers. Many undocumented farmworkers have been toiling in the fields for years, pay taxes, and have American children, yet enjoy few labor rights, have extremely limited access to occupational health services, and live under the constant threat of deportation.

Read more

The Increasing Toll of Racism and Discrimination on California’s Agricultural Workers

Sage Journals
May 26, 2021

 
In July 2019 and again in January 2020, 19 focus groups (FG) were convened by researchers from the University of California, Davis, in diverse regions of California.  The purpose of these focus groups was to gather information from Latina/o agriculture workers on the potential impact(s) of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and immigration policy on this population.  Their conclusion?  That widespread racism and discrimination were overwhelmingly noted in all sessions.  In fact, for focus group participants, the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and immigration policy severely impacted their community resulting in profound negative impacts on their economic well-being, education, and physical and emotional health.
 
Read more

Farmworkers in the News - Update

Farmworker Justice
June 16th, 2021

 
Farmworker Justice recently reported on several farmworker-related bills and court decisions, including a favorable ruling in their case from the Eastern District of California, which stipulated that DOL must order employers to compensate farmworkers who were paid unlawfully low wages.  FJ also announced that Representative Grijalva (D-AZ) and 54 cosponsors reintroduced the Fairness for Farm Workers Act (H.R. 3194) on May 13th, which would remedy the inequities of the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) as they relate to farmworkers.  Furthermore, Washington state passed a new law granting overtime to their state’s farmworkers, and USDOL withdrew the Trump-era independent contractor rule.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision on June 23rd that severely curtails farmworkers’ ability to engage with a union and exercise their collective bargaining rights. According to the New York Times, this is “the latest blow to unions from a court that has issued several decisions limiting the power of organized labor.”

To read more, visit FJ’s website.

What We’re Reading

Latest Hardship Data Show Continuing Racial Disparities

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
June 21, 2021

 
20 million people reported food insufficiency in their household in the last seven days, 10.5 million adults reported fallbacks on rent, and 63 million people reported difficulty covering usual household expenses.  While millions of people are out of work and struggling to afford food and rent, long-standing racial inequities remain large, reflecting the pandemic’s harsh impact on families of color.  Despite the aid that federal policymakers have provided, hardship remains well above pre-pandemic levels, especially for families of color.  This evidence highlights why policymakers need to craft recovery legislation that supports a more equitable recovery that closes large, long-standing disparities.

Read more

Unemployment Benefits aren’t Creating a Labor Shortage, They’re Building Worker Power

Talk Poverty
May 14, 2021

 
As businesses have begun opening back up, business owners have argued that unemployment benefits are too generous and are discouraging work. However, workers, journalists, and analysis have rebutted their stories, revealing that what employers are worried about isn’t a labor shortage at all: It’s a power shift. Studies of unemployment insurance show that laid-off workers who receive benefits search harder for jobs, receive better paying offers, and take roles that better match their education level. Despite what many businesses, commentators, and lawmakers are claiming, data is continuing to prove that unemployment insurance isn’t standing in the way of hiring.
 
Read more
Maricopa County constable Darlene Martinez evicts a tenant in October 2020 in Phoenix. In addition to killing 600,000 Americans, the pandemic is also undermining the health of people who were never infected with the virus, but whose lives were devastated by the loss of jobs, homes and opportunities for the future. (JOHN MOORE / GETTY IMAGES)
 

Black and Hispanic Americans Suffer Most in Biggest US Decline in Life Expectancy Since WWII

Kaiser Health News
June 24, 2021

 
In addition to killing 600,000 in the United States and afflicting an estimated 3.4 million or more with persistent symptoms, the pandemic threatens the health of vulnerable people devastated by the loss of jobs, homes, and opportunities for the future. It will, almost certainly, cast a long shadow on American health, leading millions of people to live sicker and die younger due to increasing rates of poverty, hunger, and housing insecurity. In particular, it will exacerbate the discrepancies already seen in the country between the wealth and health of Black and Hispanic Americans and those of white Americans.

Read more
The AFOP Washington Newsline (ISSN# 1056-8565) is produced by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP), a national federation of agencies serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers. AFOP’s mission is to improve the quality of life for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families by promoting self-sufficiency through employment and training opportunities, educational attainment, and health and safety.

The publication is funded by subscriptions and the members of AFOP. The Washington Newsline receives no financial support from the federal government. Staff may be reached by calling (202) 963-3200.
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1150 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 315
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