David Bacon: As the number of H-2A guest workers mushrooms, California labor contractors and growers are packing farmworkers into motels and houses in working class neighborhoods.
David Bacon: A national growers’ lobby has sued the U.S. Department of Labor to freeze the wages of H-2A workers at a level barely above minimum wage.
David Bacon: ICE contended that forcing Contra Costa County to divest from cooperation in immigrant detention would harm the detainees — an argument similar to those heard during the fight for divestment from apartheid in South Africa.
David Bacon: Critics of H-2A visas have two chief complaints: First, that workers in the program are exploited and often cheated, and second, that resident farm workers are displaced by growers who see H-2A workers as easier to control, and potentially less expensive.
David Bacon: Many migrant workers in California on H-2A temporary agricultural visas are forced to contend with unsafe working conditions, wage theft and other labor law violations.
David Bacon: Over the years, vigils at one immigrant-detention center in Richmond, California have changed, with some churches providing sanctuary to migrant families threatened with deportation, and raising funds for bonds and other forms of emergency support for detainees.
David Bacon: Despite its beauty, the sustainability of large-scale farming, and of the communities that depend on it, is more clearly at risk here than anywhere I know.
David Bacon: AB 1066 phases in overtime pay, so that farm workers will receive time-and-a-half after 9.5 hours in a day in 2019, nine hours in 2020, 8.5 hours in 2021, and eight hours in 2022.
David Bacon: On June 2 the State Assembly failed to pass a bill that would give farm workers the same overtime pay that workers in urban areas have had since the 1930s. The vote also makes clear that past certainties are certain no longer.
David Bacon: The number of California indigenous farm workers over the age of 50 has doubled to about nine percent — 10,000 to 15,000 people.
David Bacon: This part of downtown L.A. remains contested terrain these days, as swanky boutiques and cafes have cropped up and touch a world without stable housing for thousands of people.
David Bacon: Agribusiness wants a new guest worker program, and complaints of a labor shortage are their justification for it. But a little investigation of the actual unemployment rate in farm worker communities leads to a different picture.
David Bacon: Last year, almost 400,000 people were deported from the United States. That’s the largest wave of deportations in U.S. history, even larger than the notorious “Operation Wetback” of the 1950s, or the mass deportations during the Great Depression.