Agricultural Workers’ Health Insurance: Addressing Occupational Risks In Europe – The New York State Department of Labor offers a number of free services to businesses, including assisting employers in hiring skilled workers on a temporary, seasonal or year-round basis. The mechanism for this is to post a free job order in our job search system. If you decide you would like to hire workers, you can contact your Agricultural Labor Specialist or any Department of Labor office for assistance in meeting your labor needs. You can choose a self-service service, submit an order by fax or provide information by phone. We recommend that you provide at least the following information.
*You can choose to have the interested employee contact you directly (by phone, e-mail or in person) or request that the prospective employee be referred by the Ministry of Labour. Whenever possible, our Agricultural Work Specialists assist job seekers looking for farm work.
Agricultural Workers’ Health Insurance: Addressing Occupational Risks In Europe
There are several ways to open a work order. You can complete the Agricultural Employment Services Form (AL 515) and fax or email it to your Agricultural Employment Specialist.
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Specifically in agriculture, you have the ability to post your job posting not only locally, but statewide and interstate by using the U.S. Department of Labor’s Agriculture Employment System, through your local New York State Career Center, or by contacting to your specialist for work in agriculture.
For more information about employment through the State Department of Labor’s Career Center system, please visit our Employment Services page or contact your Agriculture Employment Specialist.
The State Ministry of Labor has incentive programs to help employers who hire individuals from certain target groups. Other free services are also available to companies.
For example, if you hire for a year-round job, your company may be eligible for an on-the-job training program.
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You have the option to hire an authorized agricultural labor contractor (FLC) to hire workers. You can find registered FLCs that employ or manage workers in your area.
Your agricultural labor specialist can provide you with the necessary posters for your workplace. You can submit a request to receive posters at any time. That’s the view from the USMCA Forward 2023 report, where experts delve into the opportunities and complementary actions needed to build more integrated, resilient and secure supply chains in North America.
Protecting workers’ rights is central to sustainable and inclusive supply chains under the USMCA—regardless of where the work takes place. The USMCA provides new mechanisms to address unfair competition that results from the suppression of workers’ rights as long as the abuses occur in Mexico. However, serious violations of labor standards also occur in the United States, and nowhere more so than in the employment of migrants in the export of American agricultural goods. For the U.S. to fairly and credibly insist that companies in Mexico meet basic labor standards, it must demand the same for the treatment of workers in the industries it trades with.
Supply chains for fruits and vegetables in USMCA countries cross and cross borders. Mexico and Canada are by far the largest importers of US produce, at $4.7 billion in 2021. US fruit and vegetables for export are harvested by migrants under conditions that violate basic labor standards. Migrants work in aspects of agriculture that are too difficult or too expensive to automate. They are paid below minimum wage, exposed to pesticides and unrelenting heat, crowded into housing that is not fit for humans, and exposed to sexual harassment and violence. Most are from Mexico, either undocumented or — in numbers that have tripled in the past three years — present on H-2A temporary agricultural visas.
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Despite these violations of their rights, creating an atmosphere conducive to forced labor. Undocumented workers can be deported at any time. Migrants with temporary visas can only stay in the country as long as they work for the company that sponsored them. If they are fired for reporting abuse, they are immediately deported. Many carry huge debt due to the recruitment process and are well aware that those who protest will be blacklisted for future opportunities. Not surprisingly, he speaks little.
In the past year, six labor subcontractors in Georgia and Florida have been convicted of forced labor and human trafficking of migrant farm workers under the H-2A program. These cases shed light on the control mechanisms used to prevent migrants from coming forward when their rights are being violated. Convicted contract workers took away workers’ passports and wages, and used everything from threats of deportation to kidnapping and rape to silence them. This is just the leading edge of cases in the pipeline, but they barely scratch the surface of the problem. Between 2015 and 2020, the U.S. National Anti-Trafficking Hotline identified more than 3,200 H-2A agricultural visa holders who were victims of human trafficking, defined as “the use of force, fraud, or coercion to subject them to involuntary servitude , peonage, debt servitude or servitude.’
The prevalence of migrant abuse in United States agriculture is a national disgrace. In practical terms, the United States’ trading partners under the USMCA should also be concerned. Workers are much cheaper under these circumstances than workers who are free and cover the cost of the produce the US exports. This is unfair competition. While the USMCA’s most powerful and innovative tools for enforcing workers’ rights are tripartite on paper, in practice they only point south. For example, the Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism is designed to be extremely difficult to trigger in the US, and in any case it excludes agriculture entirely.
The USMCA offers ways to deal with this problem—if only we take them seriously. Article 23.8 requires all three countries to enforce the labor rights of migrants. Despite the lack of public action by the U.S. government in the year and a half since the USMCA filed its complaint alleging widespread gender discrimination in the H-2 visa program, it does not raise high hopes that the claim will have teeth.
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There is another aspect of the USMCA that may apply here, so far unexplored. Article 26.3 requires all three governments to prohibit the importation of goods produced by forced labour. The US has already done this, as has Canada. Under its ban on forced labor imports, Canada could seize crops grown by migrant workers in the U.S. under conditions of forced labor. Once Mexico passes the ban, it could do the same.
If this idea appalls the US government, it could do a lot to address the underlying problem. The U.S. could legalize undocumented farm workers and eliminate the requirement that binds H-2A migrants to a single sponsor. It could expand and enforce rules that would hold growers accountable for the exploitation that occurs during employment, which represents the debt that migrants bring to the field. It could follow Canada’s lead and require growers to use Mexico’s National Employment Service as their sole employer, not a perfect solution but certainly better than the current system.
Either way, it’s time for USMCA partners to get serious about the treatment of migrant workers. In the United States, as in Mexico, labor costs artificially suppressed by the abuse of workers should have no place in commerce. On a mild December evening in 2017, strong Santa Ana winds in Southern California sparked a massive wildfire after snapping power lines and carrying molten chunks of metal to the dry ground.
The Thomas Fire, California’s largest at the time, ultimately burned 440 square miles and cost the $3.5 billion agriculture industry of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties nearly $200 million in damaged crops and buildings.
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Researchers are still assessing the impact on farm workers, who have been hit particularly hard by smoke and falling ash, the stress of working near wildfires and, in some cases, lost work days.
Exposure to wildfire smoke is a growing threat to farm workers, many of whom are forced to trudge through wildfires that are not only more frequent and severe, but more toxic than ever. And as each year brings bigger and more destructive fires, scientists are scrambling to identify all the chemicals in the smoke and the risks they pose.
What’s in smoke and how the various chemical components harm health remain largely unknown, said Ilona Jaspers, director of the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Pulmonary Biology at the University of North Carolina.
“A lot of research needs to be done to understand how climate change, wildfires and emissions mixes really affect public health,” Jaspers said. “Each fire will have a slightly different emissions profile because of what’s burning and how it’s burning.”
To make matters worse, the heat waves now coincide with California’s peak fire season, between summer and early fall — when most farmers are in the fields. Exposure to smoke and heat is expected to increase, increasing researchers’ efforts to understand how these combined insults increase worker risks.
But even without a heat wave or wildfire, farm work is one of the most dangerous and deadly jobs in America, said Lucas Zucker, director of policy and communications for the advocacy group Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, or CAUSE. “It doesn’t ask for disaster
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