In a recent episode of his show, Last Week Tonight, John Oliver discussed the challenges that farmworkers face in the United States. You can watch the full episode here, but this post focuses on the legal challenges that farmworkers face and how one WEJF beneficiary is helping.
Farmworkers are people who work in agriculture. They grow, harvest, and process food, fiber, and other agricultural products. Farmworkers are essential to the food system, but they often face difficult working conditions and low wages.
In the United States, there are an estimated 2.5 million farmworkers. The majority of farmworkers are Hispanic, and many are undocumented immigrants. Farmworkers are disproportionately women and children.
Farmworkers face a number of challenges, including:
- Low wages: Farmworkers earn some of the lowest wages in the United States. The average farmworker wage is $12.50 per hour, which is below the federal poverty line for a family of four.
- Long hours: Farmworkers often work long hours, sometimes up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Dangerous working conditions: Farmworkers are exposed to a number of hazards, including pesticides, heat stress, and injuries from machinery.
- Discrimination: Farmworkers often face discrimination based on their race, ethnicity, immigration status, and gender.
- Lack of access to healthcare: Farmworkers often lack access to affordable healthcare.
- Lack of education and training: Farmworkers often lack access to education and training, which can make it difficult for them to find better jobs.
Farmworkers are essential to the food system, but they often face difficult working conditions and low wages. We need to do more to support farmworkers and ensure that they have the opportunity to earn a living wage and live in dignity.
Here are some things you can do to support farmworkers:
- Buy food that is produced in the United States.
- Support businesses that treat their workers fairly.
- Contact your elected officials and tell them to support policies that help farmworkers.
- Volunteer your time to help farmworkers.
- Donate to organizations that support farmworkers.
WEJF beneficiary organization Legal Action of Wisconsin helps farmworkers across Wisconsin. Civil legal aid can make a real difference in the lives of farmworkers. It can help them get back the wages they have earned, protect their families, and fight for their rights. You can help protect the legal rights of farmworkers in Wisconsin by donating to WEJF.