March 14, 2019 Dena Jensen
I just listened to a recent Community Voz radio show on SB 5438 – which recently passed the state senate – a bill that would provide a source of funding and resources to provide better oversight to help prevent abuses of the H-2A visa agricultural program. You all should listen too. There’s a ton of information and analysis packed into the hour-long show that will help you better understand the bill. (Great music too!)
If you don’t have time to listen, the article shown in the graphic is helpful, as well. Here is a link to the radio show: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dbzaduib498r4x2/CV%20S2%20ep19%20Why%20We%20Support%20SB5438.mp3?dl=0
This is something important for us to get across to our legislators:
Until I listened to that show, somehow I had missed the fact that in Whatcom County, only 1 farm in 2017, Sarbanand Farms, and 1 farm in 2018, Crystal View Farm, had employed H-2A workers for those years. I had imagined there were a lot of other farms in Whatcom County using H-2A workers, as well. But no, most of the employment of H-2A workers happens in Eastern Washington.
So, 2 out of 2 farms in 2 years, in our County mistreated workers, with hundreds of those workers impacted by violations. Now, think about the fact that there are 30,000 H-2A workers expected to enter the state in 2019 while there are only 2 employees of the Employment Security Department which is tasked with field visits to assess if farms are treating their workers according to the modest regulations regarding humane treatment of workers.
Please contact the members of the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee, along with your own legislative district representatives, to help this bill get passed by the Washington state House of Representatives!
House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee Members:
Sells, Mike (D)Chair (360) 786-7840 Mike.Sells@leg.wa.gov
Chapman, Mike (D)Vice Chair (360) 786-7916 Mike.Chapman@leg.wa.gov
Mosbrucker, Gina (R)Ranking Minority Member (360) 786-7856 Gina.Mosbrucker@leg.wa.gov
Chandler, Bruce (R)Assistant Ranking Minority Member (360) 786-7960 Bruce.Chandler@leg.wa.gov
Gregerson, Mia (D) (360) 786-7868 Mia.Gregerson@leg.wa.gov
Hoff, Larry (R) (360) 786-7812 Larry.Hoff@leg.wa.gov
Ormsby, Timm (D) (360) 786-7946 Timm.Ormsby@leg.wa.gov
Link to The Western Front article, “Community to Community Development Takes Fight for Agricultural Workers, Immigrants Rights to State Legislature” :