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March 19, 2018  |  VIEW IN BROWSER

From the Desk of the Executive Director

Daniel Sheehan, AFOP Executive Director

with Vashti Kelly, Program Manager, AFOP Health & Safety


AFOP is once again hosting the National Long Sleeve Shirt Drive event during this year’s National Farmworker Awareness Week (NFAW).  As you know, NFAW is a week of national action to raise awareness about the challenges farmworkers face and honor the innumerable contributions they make to our daily lives.  We cordially invite you, our members, to celebrate NFAW this coming March 26-31, 2018 by participating in this worthwhile shirt drive.

Last year’s event brought in a record number of donated shirts – 12,126 to be exact – and we are keen to have you help us surpass that number this year. If you are interested in taking part in this effort, please see link to the invitation below, or download the participation form from our website: www.afop.org/nfaw.

[View Invitation Link]

Inside AFOP

Proteus Case Manager Debbie Theriac Promotes Farmworker Awareness Week


To highlight National Farmworker Awareness Week, Proteus-Indiana secured proclamations from the City of Bicknell, Indiana’s Office of the Mayor and the Indiana Senate and House of Representatives.  The above photo features Bicknell Mayor Thomas Estabrook presenting to Proteus-Indiana Case Manager Debbie Theriac a proclamation for Farmworker Awareness Week.
Monday, February 5, 2018. Boston, Massachusetts.
Photo credit: AFOP

 

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) and AFOP Continue Their Advocacy for NFJP

Daniel Sheehan, AFOP Executive Director


On February 5th, AFOP met with House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee ranking Democrat Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) on the success of and continuing need for NFJP.  Representative DeLauro said she’s fighting for the program, but that she needs stakeholders’ help.
 
That partnership was on display at a recent hearing on the president’s FY19 budget request.Representative DeLauro grilled Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and cited NFJP as an example of a highly effective program that “places farmworkers into jobs over 90 percent of the time and increases wages on average threefold.”  AFOP had worked with Representative DeLauro’s subcommittee professional staff to help prepare the congresswoman for the hearing.  Saying that people should be a priority, and that everyone should be able to get the training they need to get a good job, the congresswoman criticized the budget request that would “hollow out” DOL and “gut” ETA, in particular.

NY Times Article Features AFOP Member PathStone Puerto Rico

The New York Times (3/5)


The New York Times recently wrote an article on the continuing recovery effort in Puerto Rico, pointing out the fact that many businesses continue to go without electricity and that homeowners face persistent delays in getting their insurance claims approved.

The article highlights AFOP member PathStone Puerto Rico and their efforts to get people and businesses back on their feet, stating that “PathStone is helping 200 small businesses get financing, find workers and retrain them if necessary".

Read More about PathStone's part in Puerto Rico's recovery here.

Arkansas Human Development Corporation – Success Story


Oscar Ferretiz was working for Rancho Jose in Foreman, Arkansas, making $250 per week feeding chickens and repairing fences. He picked up a flyer from Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas that described the National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) and thought he might be eligible.

Now he is earning significantly more than what he was earning on the farm, as a result of NFJP’s support in helping him obtain his commercial driver’s license (CDL). Oscar stated, “if it wasn’t for Arkansas Human Development Corporation, I would not have been able to provide a better life for my family. AHDC helped me succeed and was with me every step. Thanks to AHDC I accomplished a lifelong goal.”

[Read More]

Black Hills Special Services Cooperative – Success Stories

 
AFOP member Black Hills reports two farmworker success stories in South Dakota – one about a young man named Kirby Peterson from the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Sioux Tribe, and another named Jon from Corsica, SD.  As a result of their participation in NFJP, Kirby went from living in poverty earning less than $6,000 per year to earning $46,969, while Jon is currently working at MA Mortenson Company, a wind blade repair company, earning $20 per hour and working 10 to 12 hours a day.
 
[Read More]

MET – South Dakota Success Story

By Claribel Almonte


Gladys Medina had been migrating from Texas to North Dakota every year since she was a baby. Her parents traveled 30 hours to Minto, ND where they would work in the sugar beet fields all summer long. Gladys was 14 when she began working twelve-hour days Monday through Friday all summer long. Once the summer was over Gladys would work harvesting potatoes beginning in September and ending in October.  She did this for 11 years.

When pumping gas in Grafton, ND, Gladys saw a flyer for MET’s NFJP program.  She was enrolled in the CNA class and within 3 weeks, she was a Certified Nurse Assistant. She immediately found employment helping the elderly at Sunset Lutheran Home, and was soon offered a leadership position in a nearby nursing facility.  She currently earns over $15/hour.
 
To read more about Gladys’s success story, click here.

MET-Texas:  First Cohort of Students Aims to Become Former Migrants

The Brownsville Herald

 
A first cohort of students who aim to become former migrant farmworkers has started training in a pilot program at the Cameron County Educational Initiative trade school in Brownsville to become certified phlebotomy and EKG technicians.
 
Motivation Education and Training Inc., an assistance agency for migrant and seasonal farmworkers based in Harlingen, funds the program in a cooperative agreement with CCEI. The six students in the inaugural class said they intend “not to have to go to work in the fields anymore.”
 
[Read More]
Jim Haugli, FCDP State Director and Kirk Barras with Elmer Albarran and Lucia Valdivia-Sanchez from the Putnam County FCDP and Crescent City High School Students/program participants.


Florida Making Strides for Farmworkers

Farmworker Career Development Program (2/10)

 
The Putnam County Farmworker Career Development Program (FCDP) started a collaboration with JATT (Jacksonville Plumbers and Pipefitters Joint Apprenticeship & Training Trust) to increase access and employment opportunities for FCDP program participants.  Individuals in FCDP who are interested in entering the building trades now have access to one of the best and most successful training programs in Florida.  JATT allows participants to “Earn as they Learn,” and graduates of the program have become successful professionals in high-demand/high-wage careers in northern Florida.
 
Read Press Release Here

Proteus – Nebraska Staff Meet with Congressman during AFOP Leadership Conference (2/1)

 
Proteus Nebraska staff met Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, second from right, and the Palestinian Ambassador, third from left, when they attended the AFOP Leadership Conference in Washington DC.

Veteran Benefits from Proteus Services

Proteus-NE Success Story (01/18)


James Peterson was a former Gulf War Veteran who did seasonal farm work after returning from the service. With assistance from Proteus Case Manager Jody Stutzman, James… sought out a job in manufacturing. With a bit of luck, Jody was able to help James find a job with Goodwill as a community support worker. From this work, James spurred an interest in attending Central Community College to earn a degree in community counseling. He is currently enrolled and completing a practicum at Mid-Plains Center for Behavioral Healthcare Services, Inc. in Grand Island.

[Read More]

Farmworker Finds New Career as Welder

Proteus – Nebraska Success Story


Quinton Vore spent several years working as a seasonal farm hand. He primarily sorted, cared for and fed cattle. After some time, he realized that he wanted a career and not just a job.
 
Click here for more on this success story and others at Proteus

AFOP Health & Safety

AFOP Health & Safety Programs Director Melanie Forti Asked to Continue Serving on Pesticide Safety Advisory Board

Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC) (3/9)


Melanie Forti, AFOP Health & Safety Programs Director, will be continuing her service on the PERC Advisory Board for Project Year 2018 (April 2018 – March 2019.)  She had been recommended as a person with respected knowledge and experience, and as one who will make a valuable contribution to PERC’s mission.  By serving on the Board, Ms. Forti will have the opportunity to represent her constituencies on unmet needs, participate in prioritization, review of draft materials, and promote finished products in her sector.
 
PERC expressed gratitude to Melanie and AFOP for supporting PERC by offering her efforts as in-kind.

Gracefully Greying

AFOP Health & Safety blog (2/16)

Melanie Forti, Director, AFOP Health & Safety

 
While the average age of the workforce in agriculture is 36, we still see a vast number of older folks continuing work in the fields.  BLS estimates that by 2022, a large percent of aging workers will start to remain at home.  However, the pattern of aging workforce within agriculture is sure to remain constant until our nation’s broken immigration reform is brought to justice, and while we continue paying low wages to the migrant and seasonal farmworker community.
 
[Read More]

If Farmers Paid for Childcare, Would it Bring Workers Back to the Fields?

‘New Food Economy’ Article Features a Statement by AFOP Health & Safety Director Melanie Forti (2/13)


A pair of new reports— one from the perspective of employees and the other from the perspective of employers — point to an overlooked.. culprit behind a growing labor crisis: lack of childcare. …But the problem of children in the fields is bigger than just availability of daycare, says AFOP Health & Safety Director Melanie Forti. It can confer an economic advantage for parents, a kind of coping mechanism that makes up for low wages. Many farmworkers get paid by container or piece—and the faster they work, the more money they make. Extra hands mean more money. “If you have fair pay for them you won’t have the necessity of bringing children to work,” says Forti.

[Read More]

Teen killed in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, farming accident

Tribune-Democrat (3/13)

 
A 17-year-old Woodbury Township youth was killed in a farming accident Monday, Bedford County Coroner Rusty Styer said.  The accident occurred at a farm along Branch Road while the young man was changing bucket attachments on a skid loader, Styer said.
 
[Read More]

Senators Rebuke EPA Plan to Let Kids Handle Pesticides Again

Huffington Post (3/14)


A group of 28 senators sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday urging him not to roll back restrictions on the use of dangerous pesticides by young workers. In their letter, the 27 Democrats and one independent said “the lives of children and families across the country are at stake.”
 
“These rules protect not only the workers that handle and are exposed to the pesticides, but also areas around agricultural land and the children who may incidentally come in contact with the pesticides,” they wrote.
 
[Read More]

Inside the United States Department of Labor

Apprenticeship Council Tackles Tough Questions

Roll Call (3/16)

 
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta's apprenticeship council met again Thursday to consider how to create an industry-led apprenticeship program. During the hour-and-a-half-long meeting, certain hurdles became apparent. Council members said they still hadn't figured out the proper criteria for evaluating certifiers (i.e., private the trade groups and businesses that would run industry-specific programs), or how to prevent conflicts of interest among certifiers. They also struggled with how certifiers that lack a background in education will negotiate with colleges for curriculum and credit.
 
Members stressed the need to create a favorable perception among parents, who may view apprenticeships as a step beneath four-year colleges. Acosta reiterated that DOL isn't looking to dismantle the department's current registered apprenticeship program. "We're not taking anything away," Acosta said. "That needs to be crystal clear."

DOL Hosts Webinar on Workforce Development Program Integration

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

 
Have you been challenged with fully integrating your workforce partners' programs into your comprehensive American Job Center?  How about co-locating all of the core programs into the American Job Center? Join us to hear from three different workforce areas who have met this challenge.
 
[Click here to register]

U.S. Department of Labor Files Lawsuit After Investigation Finds Washington State Farm Discriminated Against American Workers

DOL (2/27)

 
The U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit against a northern Washington berry farm for violating the labor provisions of the H-2A visa program. Sakuma Brothers Farms Inc. and the Washington State Farm Labor Association have been assessed $124,575 in civil money penalties and an additional $9,599 for failing to pay back wages to an eligible U.S. worker who was not hired and to workers who drove the buses that transported workers to the farm.
 
[Read More]

Labor Secretary Acosta Touts Nation’s Economy in West Palm

MyPalmBeachPost (2/5)

 
During remarks on his trip to Florida, Secretary Acosta focused on the need to de-silo traditional education and workforce education. He also met with Department employees in Palm Beach.
 
[Read More]

Rural Community Assistance Corporation Houses More Farmworkers

DOLETA Newsletter


The Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) secured financing and completed the rehabilitation of 19 housing units as a part of its Kunia Village project. Today, 15 of these housing units are occupied by farmworkers and retired farmworkers, which is a step towards meeting RCAC’s goal of increasing the number of farmworker housing units by 79 units.

Read More about RCAC here.

Jobless Claims Drop

DOL (2/8)

 
The 4-week moving average for jobless claims dropped to 224,500 last week — the lowest level since March 1973.
 
[Read More]

Unemployment Down

BLS (2/6)


Unemployment rates were lower in January than a year earlier in 337 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 39 areas, and unchanged in 12 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Twenty-eight areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent and four areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent.
 
[Read More]

U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Farm Labor Contractor Paying $168,082 in Penalties to Resolve Housing Condition Violations

DOL (2/22)


Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Future Ag Management Inc. – a Soledad, California-based farm labor contractor – will pay $168,082 in penalties to resolve Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) violations that posed a direct and imminent threat to its employees.
 
[Read More]

Washington Fruit Grower to Pay $78,000 in Back Wages (1/19)

DOL (1/19)

 
The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement with a Washington tree fruit grower to resolve violations of the H-2A non-immigrant visa program under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The settlement requires Tonasket-based Northwestern LLC to pay $60,000 in back wages to 112 employees, and an additional $18,000 in penalties to the Department.
 
[Read More]

Workforce GPS Releases February 2018, March 2018 Newsletters


Please note that the Feb 2nd webinar on Human Trafficking is now recorded on Workforce GPS:  Protecting Farmworkers from Sexual Harassment and Human Trafficking: State Level Activities.

February Newsletter Here

March Newsletter Here

Hill Happenings

Source:  Wikimedia Commons

NFJP Funding Level Increased in Latest Appropriations Bill

Daniel Sheehan, AFOP Executive Director (3/16)


The president signed the FY18 appropriations bill into law on Friday, March 23rd.  The new law increases the level of funding by $6 Million for the NFJP Program.  DOLETA anticipates publishing a PY18 grant plan TEGL in early June that will incorporate the increased NFJP appropriations, as well as the adjusted allocation formula. 

Stay tuned to your email and AFOP social media for further updates!

The Human Needs Report: President Trump’s FY19 Budget Request Special Edition

Coalition on Human Needs (2/20)

 
CHN released a special edition of the Human Needs Report focusing on President Trump's FY19 budget request. In addition to an overview of the budget itself and the budget process, we compiled many of the program cuts and policy changes in the Trump administration's budget that are most damaging to low-income people from select departmental budgets, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture. We also included proposed cuts and changes to other areas of note.
 
[Read More]

Farmworkers in the News

Wilfredo Lee/AP


There’s a Sexual-Harassment Epidemic on America’s Farms

The Atlantic


In recent months, stories of sexual harassment and assault have been flowing on a daily basis from the entertainment, media, and tech industries. But low-wage workers, who are disproportionately women of color, are extremely susceptible to harassment in the workplace, and their stories receive far less attention. According to data compiled by the Center for American Progress (CAP) from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), more than one-quarter of sexual-harassment charges were filed in industries with large numbers of low-wage service-sector jobs.

[Read More]

How a Farmworker Movement Changed the Way Your Food Gets Made

Aspen Institute (2/22)

 
In Florida's tomato fields, a group of farmworkers came together to improve their working conditions. They formed the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and won industry agreements to the Fair Food Program, a partnership of farmers, farmworkers, and retail food companies that ensure humane wages and working conditions at participating farms. In her new book, I Am Not A Tractor! How Florida Farmworkers Took on the Fast Food Giants and Won, Susan Marquis tells the story of the Coalition and draws implications for other industries. On February 9th, the Aspen Institute hosted a discussion of the book, the Fair Food Program, and the potential for worker-driven social responsibility strategies to improve job quality throughout the nation and world.  A summary of that event, including short video clips from the speakers, is at the below link.
 
[Read More]

Farmworker Organizations Challenge NAFTA

Wisconsin News Tracker (2/8)


Leading farmworker organizations and advocates for farmworkers in the United States and Mexico have submitted a petition under the (North American Free Trade Agreement) labor side agreement challenging the failure of the U.S. government to comply with its obligations to protect international migrant workers who are hired under the H-2A agricultural guest worker program.
 
[Read More]
 

Disaster Relief and Recovery

Photo credit:  Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times


FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 Were Delivered

NY Times (2/6)

 
The mission for the Federal Emergency Management Agency was clear: Hurricane Maria had torn through Puerto Rico, and hungry people needed food. Thirty million meals needed to be delivered as soon as possible.
 
For this huge task, FEMA tapped Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur with no experience in large-scale disaster relief and at least five canceled government contracts in her past. FEMA awarded her $156 million for the job, and Ms. Brown, who is the sole owner and employee of her company, Tribute Contracting LLC, set out to find some help.

[Read More]

Wine Country Wildfires Affect Workers and Winemakers Alike

Food Tank (11/15)


Seasonal workers have struggled while the fires burned and in the aftermath, with road closures making access to the vineyards difficult. Some of these workers were turned away from previously scheduled work during the fires because of dangerous conditions and limited accessibility of vineyards, resulting in a week or more without income.

[Read More]

Immigration

Photo credit:  AFOP

FRAC Responds to Reported Proposals to Change “Public Charge” Definition

Food Research & Action

 
Low-income people who are eligible for anti-hunger programs should not be deterred, penalized, or stigmatized, and should not suffer adverse immigration consequences for their legally authorized use of public benefits. By helping immigrants obtain needed nutrition, these programs strengthen all of our communities across the country. The reported "public charge" rule proposal to make immigrants subject to immigration penalties for use of nutrition programs, Medicaid and housing assistance must be jettisoned.
 
[Read More]

A Bit of Good News for Some Dreamers, but a Real Solution is Needed

Coalition on Human Needs (2/28)


Dreamers, whose lives have been turned upside down in the past few months, received a small amount of good news on Monday. That’s when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to speed up the legal fight over ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The notice came just one week before the March 5th deadline that President Trump previously announced would signal the end of DACA unless Congress acted.  What does this mean for Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children? For now, at least, it means that DACA recipients can continue to file to renew their protected status beyond the March 5th deadline. This is a relief for many. Unfortunately, no new DACA applications will be accepted, leaving hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers out of luck.
 
[Read More]

They Knocked on an Atwater Door Saying They Were Cops. They Were ICE, Advocates Say

Merced Sun-Star (2/27)

 
A handful of people were picked up by immigration agents in Atwater during the weekend, according to advocates and a witness.
 
The U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, did not confirm the number of arrests from Sunday morning, but advocates for undocumented immigrants told the Sun-Star five people were picked up in deportation efforts in Atwater [in Merced County, California].
 
[Read More]

ICE Targeted at Least Three More Valley Farms with Employee Audits, Nonprofit says

Modesto Bee (2/8)

 
Pitman Family Farms, Poindexter Nut Company and Fresh Select LLC have each been notified by ICE that their employee records will soon be audited, Faith in the Valley lead organizer Thomas Weiler said. Faith in the Valley typically offers outreach services to low-income workers, undocumented immigrants, youth and other underserved groups; the organization is currently putting together a workshop for farmers seeking to protect their employees from ICE.
 
[Read More]

An Immigrant Called 911 to Report a Crime. Police Took Him to ICE in Handcuffs

Washington Post (2/14)

 
At 5:30 a.m. Thursday, as Wilson Rodriguez Macarreno was getting ready for work, he noticed a stranger peering into his Tukwila, Wash., home.
 
Rodriguez, a carpenter and native of Honduras, had confronted a string of attempted intrusions to his home in recent weeks. He worried about his 3-year-old twins and 1-year-old son, his lawyer, Luis Cortes Romero, told The Washington Post. So the father decided to call 911 to report a possible trespasser.
 
[Read More]

ICE Formalizes Plans for Courthouse Arrests

US News/AP (1/31)

 
Federal immigration authorities formalized a policy Wednesday to send deportation agents to federal, state and local courthouses to make arrests, dismissing complaints from judges and advocacy groups that it instills fear among crime victims, witnesses and family members.
 
[Read More]

Exclusive: Trump’s Draft Plan to Punish Legal Immigrants for Sending US-Born Kids to Head Start

Vox (2/8)


The Trump administration is working on new rules that would allow the government to keep immigrants from settling in the US, or even keep them from extending their stays, if their families had used a broad swath of local, state, or federal social services to which they’re legally entitled — even enrolling their US-born children in Head Start or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
 
[Read More]

5 Things the Trump Administration Can Do Right Now to Protect Dreamers and Show Good Faith

Center for American Progress

 
During his first State of the Union address, President Donald Trump once more laid out his framework to provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers. The proposal came after the Trump administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September 2017, and backed out of a series of bipartisan agreements to address the status of Dreamers in the preceding weeks. Over the next four weeks, an average of 122 DACA recipients will lose protection every day. Beginning on March 6, 2018, that figure could increase ten-fold.

[Read More]

Longtime NAPA Resident Arrested in ICE Sweep; Family in Shock

SF Gate


Jesus Manzo Ceja walked out of his Napa home before 6 a.m. Wednesday intending to move his truck from a spot where he worried it might get towed. Instead he found immigration officers waiting for him in the dark with a warrant for his arrest. 

Now the 55-year-old construction worker and father of three — who came to the U.S. nearly 30 years ago but never gained legal status — faces potential deportation to his native Mexico, according to family members.
 
[Read More]

Poverty in the US

Locking People Out of Medicaid Coverage Will Increase Uninsured, Harm Beneficiaries’ Health

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (2/22)

 
State and federal policymakers have tried for several decades to make it easier for people to demonstrate their Medicaid eligibility by streamlining enrollment processes and limiting unnecessary requests for documents to verify eligibility. Kentucky's new Medicaid waiver and the extension of Indiana's current waiver mark a sharp reversal of these efforts: both erect multiple new barriers that can trip up eligible but unaware enrollees and lead them to lose coverage or even not apply in the first place if they think they aren't eligible. The waivers will likely significantly increase the number of people who experience gaps in health coverage or lose it altogether despite being eligible.

[Read More]

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Critical to Rural Areas and Small Towns

Food Research & Action Center (2/20)


Households in rural areas and small towns continue to be more likely to receive assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) than their metro area counterparts, according to the Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) updated analysis of the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data on SNAP participation. SNAP Maps, FRAC’s interactive data tool, shows that, on average, from 2012–2016, 15.8 percent of rural households and 15.3 percent of households in small towns nationwide participated in SNAP, compared to 12.6 percent of households in metro areas across the country.
 
[Read More]

Welfare to Work Project in Trump Budget Would Unravel Major Federal Programs

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (2/16)


The “Welfare to Work Projects” proposal in President Trump’s budget would facilitate the unraveling of major federal programs that help low- and moderate-income people meet basic needs. It appears to let states and localities undertake a large-scale redesign of an unnamed number of basic assistance programs, with apparently few protections for individuals who need the assistance these programs provide to make ends meet. Although the budget includes few details on the initiative, it follows the broad theme of past congressional “superwaiver” proposals and of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “Opportunity Grant” and “A Better Way” proposals.

[Read More]

What We’re Reading

Image credit:  theLily.com
 

This International Women’s Day, Pay Respect to These 31 Inspiring Figures

The Lily.com (3/7)

 
The Lily is always dedicated to telling the stories of women, regardless of the day, month or year. But for Women’s History Month 2018, we decided to focus on women who have been the first of their kind.
 
One of those women is Dolores Huerta, who, in 1965, became the first female leader of the farm worker’s union. The labor activist co-founded what became the United Farm Workers of America union with César Chávez. She helped lead the grape boycott, which lasted from 1965 to 1970 and resulted in the first farmworker union contracts.
 
[Read More]

Understanding the Impact of Suicide in Rural America

National Advisory Committee on Rural Health & Human Services (12/2017)

 
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services released this policy brief and recommendations on suicide in rural America. It includes a discussion of the impact of suicide in rural areas along with prevention strategies at the state and federal levels.
 
[Read More]

The Future of the American Dream is Latino

Aspen Institute (3/2)


In early March, the Economic Opportunities Program and Latinos and Society Program hosted a joint discussion, "Drivers of Opportunity: How Will Latinos Shape the Future of the American Dream?” at the Aspen Institute offices in Washington, DC. Panelists at the event — including Office of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Jose Corona, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Marie Mora, Nation Waste, Inc.’s Maria Rios, The Workers Lab’s Carmen Rojas, and Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams — discussed how we can secure economic stability and mobility for Latino workers, families, and communities. The event was part of the Economic Opportunities Program’s Working in America series and Latinos and Society Program’s Latino Economic Advancement series.
 
[Read More]
 

Game Changers:  Linking Rural Opportunity Youth to Better Economic Futures

Aspen Institute (3/7)

 
The good news?  The number of Opportunity Youth – 16-24-year-olds who are not in school, not working, and disconnected from the people, networks and employment they need to prosper – has declined in the United States in recent years. The challenging news? Nearly five million – about one in every eight young people – are still disconnected in America. And the rate in rural counties (20%) far exceeds that in urban (14%) and suburban (12%) counties.
 
This panel highlighted three programs – from Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, and the Tribal West – that are successfully moving Rural Opportunity Youth into career training, higher education, and employment in multiple sectors. Hear how rural communities are innovating to make these young people realize their potential, advance their livelihoods, and contribute to their communities and the nation’s future.
 
[Watch the video here]

Rep. Goodlatte’s Guestworker Bill Revised in Effort to Gain Agribusiness Support

& other articles

Farmworker Justice Update (3/1)

 
As noted in previous updates, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is reportedly pushing House leadership for a vote on his anti-immigrant bill, the “Securing America’s Future Act,” H.R. 4760, which includes the Agricultural Guestworker Act (AGA). The AGA would create an extremely abusive new guestworker program. Some changes were recently made to the AGA in an attempt to garner more support for the bill from agricultural employers.

[Read More]

18 Films about Food to Inspire, Outrage, and Mobilize

Food Tank


Powerful films can help spark worldwide awareness and debate on some of the most pressing food and agriculture issues, as well as reinforce and reenergize environmental and sustainability activism efforts. Food Tank has curated a list of 18 recent food films that inspire, outrage, and mobilize. Help grow this list by adding favorite films and suggestions in the comments section.
 
[Read More]

Editor’s Note:  “Dolores” will be aired on PBS on March 27th, with online streaming beginning March 28th.

Trump’s Attack on Immigrants Is Breaking the Backbone of America’s Child Care System

Center for American Progress (2/5)

 
Immigrants are a key pillar of our economy. But over the past year, President Donald Trump has relentlessly targeted immigrants’ rights. Although President Trump promised to promote access to child care for families during his campaign, he has overlooked the fact that child care relies on early educators and that immigrants play an integral role in the nation’s early childhood workforce. In fact, at least one-fifth of the country’s approximately 2 million early childhood educators are immigrants. Enacting policies that threaten the security and well-being of immigrants and their families directly undermines America’s child care system, representing yet another broken promise from the Trump administration.
 
[Read More]

LULAC Calls Upon John Kelly to Step Down After He Unfairly Criticizes Dreamers’ Work Ethic

League of United Latin American Citizens (2/7)

 
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation’s largest and oldest Latino civil rights organization, called upon Chief of Staff John Kelly to step down after he insulted hard working young immigrants by accusing them of being “too lazy to get off their asses.” Despite being characterized as being the “adult in the room” at the White House, Kelly’s immigrant bashing has turned out to be only slightly less demonizing than President Trump’s hateful rants.
 
[Read More]

FRAC Reacts to USDA Farm Bill Priorities

Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) (1/26)


FRAC President Jim Weill told the Hagstrom Report that the Farm Bill principles outlined this week by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a speech and a four-page document were “very broad, and the devil is in the details.” Referring to the provision that calls on Congress to support work as the pathway to self-sufficiency for individuals and families receiving SNAP, Weill said, “Supporting work as a way to self-sufficiency is an important goal. The question: Is that going to be done by ensuring that people get job training and jobs that they need, or will it be done through arbitrary time limits?” FRAC is urging Congress to support H.R. 1276 that exempts from SNAP work requirements able-bodied adults who are not offered a position in a SNAP Employment and Training Program. Weill told NPR Marketplace that “cutting the program (SNAP) runs the risk of harming health, reducing student achievement, and increasing poverty.”

Faces of Austerity 2.0

NDD United


NDD United has released an update on their original study on budget cuts and their effects on normal Americans. 
 
“Faces of Austerity 2.0: How Budget Cuts Continue to Make Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure” tells the stories of 10 individuals and communities that continue to suffer austerity’s impact across nondefense sectors—education, job training, public health, safety and security, housing, childcare, nutrition, and natural resources.

Original study:  Click Here
Faces of Austerity 2.0:  Click Here

Save-for-All Campaign Details How Cuts to Medicaid Would Impact People in Rural Communities

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

 
Medicaid provides essential health coverage for millions in rural communities, giving them access to primary care and critical health services.  Many of them, including children, would otherwise be uninsured.  Forty-five percent of children in rural areas are enrolled in Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage, compared to 38 percent in metropolitan areas.
 
Cutting Medicaid or radically changing its financing structure — for example to a per capita cap as in recent congressional Republican proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — would threaten essential care for millions of low-income people in rural areas. Instead of capping Medicaid, federal policymakers should support positive state innovations that improve coverage for people in rural communities.
 
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Condescension in a Box:  The Trump Administration’s SNAP Proposal

Coalition on Human Needs (2/27)


Earlier this month, as part of its overall budget plan, the Trump administration proposed a radical restructuring of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.  The changes would involve $213 billion in cuts over a decade, and one fundamental change would mean that just over 80 percent of all SNAP recipients – those receiving at least $90 in benefits a month – would get about half of their benefits in the form of a “USDA Foods package.”  The package would consist in part of “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.”
 
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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 providing advocacy for the member organizations that serve them.

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) 384-1754.
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