Welcome to this month’s Webinar on
Farm Worker Justice
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and Immigration Reform
Farmworker Justice
Adrienne DerVartanian
Director of Immigration and Labor Rights
Farmworker Justice is a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower
migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working
conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety, and access
to justice. Based in Washington, D.C, Farmworker Justice was founded in
Who Are Farmworkers?
Photo by David Bacon
Majority foreign born
Over half are undocumented
Median annual income is $10,000 - $12,499
At least 30 % earn incomes below the U.S.
poverty line
Young, mostly male but also families
11% are children and teenagers
Spanish speaking
Minimal formal education and low literacy
even in Spanish
Excluded from overtime, NLRA protections
and other workplace protections
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, National
Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 2001-2002
Immigration Reform and
 Ongoing efforts for
immigration reform
for decades
 Renewed push for
 Desperate need for
immigration reform
with path to
Harsh New Guestworker
Multiple proposals in
Congress to create
new/revised guestworker
 No path to
immigration status
or citizenship
 Sharp wage cuts
and poorer working
 Reduced
oversight and
access to justice
What would be the impact of
these guestworker proposals?
Proposals would be devastating:
 Employers could easily hire new foreign workers at
substandard wages and avoid hiring U.S. farmworkers
 Expansion to new year-round industries: dairy, meat
 Do not address majority of current workforce: the
undocumented workers and their families
 Undocumented workers would be pushed further
underground and become even more exploitable
H-2A Agricultural
Guestworker Program
Photo by Earl Dotter
Uncapped guestworker program.
 Employers must prove that there
are no U.S. workers available for the
 Employers must show bringing in
foreign workers won’t harm wages
and working conditions of U.S.
H-2A Guestworker
 Use of program has
almost doubled
over last ten years
 Complaints: red
tape and
burdensome, BUT
protections needed
and majority of
applications are
 FY 2011: 95%
H-2A Guestworker Program
Workers indebted
Non-immigrant status
Isolation and family separation
Incentives to discriminate
against US workers
 Inadequate enforcement
“The farmers can take
advantage of the [H-2A
workers] where they
can’t take advantage of
the Americans…because
we know the laws when
[they] don’t…I think it
was more or less, they
didn’t want the
Americans out there.”
-Mary Jo,
U.S. Farmworker
Our Future: Guestworkers?
What are America’s values?
 Are we comfortable with
an entire industry’s
workerforce being
 Or are we a democracy
that values all workers and
gives needed workers basic
human dignity and rights,
and an opportunity to
achieve the American
dream, including economic
freedom and political
How Can You Help?
 Oppose one-sided
guestworker proposals.
 Support immigration
reform with a path to
immigration status and
 Support equal
protections for
Photo by David Bacon
Cleo Rodriguez, Jr.,
Executive Director- NMSHSA
Head Start 101
The Birth of Project
Head Start – 1965
Heightened Awareness of Poverty in the United
• John F. Kennedy’s campaign for president
• President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s
educational/social background
• Sargent Shriver and the Kennedy’s family
interest in children with special needs
• Interdisciplinary Planning Committee
The Birth of Project Head
Start – 1965
Pediatricians, Psychologists, and Early Childhood
Specialists stressed the strong role played by
parents in guiding and motivating their children.
James Coleman’s research held that parental
involvement is a supplement to a child’s learning
in the classroom.
It was a summer “catch-up” program
Evidence showed needed more than summer
and became year-round
Philosophy of Head Start:
• Bring greater degree of social
competence in children
• Each child is unique and individual
• Child benefits from comprehensive
• Child’s entire family is critical for
Philosophy of Head Start:
Foster social competence
Improved health/physical abilities
Encourage self-confidence
Enhance communication skills
Establish patterns for success
Enhance sense of self-worth
Core Values of Head
Supportive learning environment
Inclusive of all cultures/languages
Empowerment of families
Respect individual developments
Relationships/partnerships with community
Shared governance (Parent Policy Council)
Structure of Head Start
• Federal to local grantees
• Local grantees have flexibility to meet the
needs of the community
• Local Board of Directors
• Parent Policy Council
• Parent Committees
Head Start Act:
• What is the Head Start Act?
• This is the law that governs how each program is
governed and operated. Every 5 years Head Start
is reauthorized. It is during this period changes
can occur.
• On December 12, 2007, President Bush signed
Public Law 110-134 "Improving Head Start for
School Readiness Act of 2007" reauthorizing the
Head Start program.
• Should be reauthorized in 2012. May be delayed
due to elections and other factors.
Performance Standards:
• Regulations that are issued and monitored
by the US government for the operations of
ALL Head Start Programs
• Developed and revised by the Department
of HHS
• Every program is legally bound to meet all
the standards. If not, the program is out of
What is the Policy
• Made of program parents and community
• Elected for terms
• Approve all operations of the program
• Oversight of program operations
• Has legal and fiscal authority
• Must include parents and work with Policy
Current Numbers:
• Regional Head Start: 845,000 (93%)
• Migrant/Seasonal Head Start: 34,000 (4%)
• Indian/Native American: 23,000 (3%)
• Total Children served 2010: 904,000
Simple Migrant Program
• 23,738 – Number of families
• 2,635- Number of classrooms
• 78%- Number of Teachers/Teacher Assistants
with a CDA or higher
• 75%- Infants and Toddlers
• 25% - Preschoolers
Funding History
• 1965- $96,400,000
Served 561,000 children
• 2009-$7,112,786,000.00
($7.1 billion)- Serving
904,000 children
Cost per child in Migrant/Seasonal
Head Start Programs:
$8,500.00 per child
Unique Characteristics of
• Migrant/Seasonal:
– Work requirement
– Birth – 5 years old
– Extended hours
– Meets the needs of family based on agricultural
– Provides coordinated efforts between programs
and other migrant serving agencies for seamless
Chris Liu-Beers
NC Council of Churches
Photo: Peter Eversoll
Photo: Peter Eversoll
with Seminaries
Photo: Peter Eversoll
Photo: Peter Eversoll
with FAN
Photo: Peter Eversoll
Interfaith Action of
Southwest Florida
Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida (IA)
• A network of people of faith and religious institutions that
works in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers
(CIW) to improve sub-poverty wages and end modern-day
slavery and human rights abuses in the fields.
IA brings the spiritual resources of diverse faith traditions and
the moral weight of faith-based voices in society to our work in
collaboration with farmworkers for justice in the fields.
Coalition of Immokalee Workers
The CIW is a community-based
organization of mainly Latino, Mayan
Indian and Haitian immigrants
working in low-wage jobs throughout
the state of Florida.
From this basis we fight for, among other things: a fair wage for the
work we do, more respect on the part of our bosses and the
industries where we work, better and cheaper housing, stronger laws
and stronger enforcement against those who would violate workers'
rights, the right to organize on our jobs without fear of retaliation, and
an end to forced labor in the fields.
Faith Solidarity with Workers
Interfaith Action at Work
IA facilitates education for faith communities, including dialogue between
farmworkers and non-farmworker people of faith, and animates people of faith to
take action for justice in the agricultural industry.
IA coordinates faith-based participation in the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food,
leveraging the moral, consumer, shareholder, and social power of faith
communities to effectively call on major tomato purchasers to ensure fair wages
and human rights for farmworkers.
People of faith played a crucial role in bringing about the historic agreements
between the CIW and Yum Brands, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and Whole
Foods to directly improve the wages and conditions for the farmworkers who pick
tomatoes for these companies.
IA also provides a wide range of logistical and technical assistance to the
farmworkers of the CIW, both in Immokalee and in planning national tours and
actions. IA is an affiliate of Interfaith Worker Justice and a founding member of
the Alliance for Fair Food" For more information
Campaigns - Publix, Kroger,
Stop and Shop
Publix is Florida's major supermarket chain and a large buyer of Florida tomatoes.
Unfortunately, while Publix has a reputation for community involvement, it has yet to
join the Fair Food program to help ensure fair wages and conditions for those who
harvest its tomatoes.
As the nation's second-largest grocery chain, Kroger is a major purchaser of tomatoes.
Yet despite letters from the CIW, over 80 religious, human rights, student, and
community organizations that are part of the Alliance for Fair Food, and thousands of
consumers across the country, Kroger has yet to improve the sub-poverty wages and
human rights abuses faced by those who pick their tomatoes. You can join in calling on
Kroger to ensure justice in its tomato supply chain:
Over the past several years the CIW and over 80 religious, human rights, student, and
community endorsers of the Alliance for Fair Food have written letters to Ahold - owner
of Stop & Shop, Giant, Giant Food Stores, Martin's, Ukrop's and Peapod - to invite it to
improve the sub-poverty wages and conditions faced by the farmworkers who harvest
their tomatoes. Join in calling on Ahold to ensure justice in its tomato supply chain:
Interfaith Action of
Southwest Florida
IIC Contacts by organization
African American Ministers in Action: Leslie Malachi,
American Jewish Committee: Chelsea Hanson,
Bread for the World Institute: Andrew Wainer,
Church World Service: Jen Smyers,
Disciples of Christ: Ken Brooker Langston,
The Episcopal Church: Katie Conway,
Franciscan Action Network: Marie Lucey,
Friends Committee on National Legislation: Ruth Flower,
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society: Liza Lieberman,
Interfaith Worker Justice: Thomas Shellabarger,
Irish Apostolate USA: Geri Garvey,
Islamic Information Center: Hajar Hosseini,
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Shaina Aber,
Jewish Council for Public Affairs: Elyssa Koidin,
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service: Nora Skelly,
Mennonite Central Committee: Tammy Alexander,
Muslim Public Affairs Council: Hoda Elshishtawy,
Sisters of the Good Shepherd: Larry Couch,
NETWORK: Sr. Mary Ellen Lacy, D.C.,
Pax Christi: Scott Wright,
PICO: Michele Rudy,
Presbyterian Church, USA: Melissa Gee,
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas: Regina McKillip,
Sojourners: Ivone Guillen,
Union for Reform Judaism: Amelia Viney,
Unitarian Universalist Association: Craig Roshaven,
United Church of Christ: Rev. Mari Castellanos,
United Methodist Church: Bill Mefford,
UNITED SIHKS: Harpreet Singh,
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Kevin Appleby,
World Relief: Jenny Yang,

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