Washington, D.C. – The United Farm Workers and UFW Foundation welcome the Biden Administration’s Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWR) final rule, which will protect the wages and job opportunities of U.S.-based agricultural workers and ensure the fair treatment of H-2A Guest Workers.
This rule follows the Trump Administration’s AEWR rule which was blocked by the UFW and UFW Foundation’s successful lawsuits against the Trump Administration. Under the rules of the H-2A Program, agricultural employers can reject any job applicant, including a highly qualified U.S. farm worker, who demands a wage higher than the rate required under the H-2A Program. The Trump Administration’s proposal to reduce the AEWR would have threatened the jobs of countless domestic farm workers and pushed those willing to accept the below-market wages even further into poverty. According to Farmworker Justice, blocking the Trump AEWR rule saved farm workers an estimated $500 million in wages over the course of 2021 and 2022.
“We are proud to have stopped the Trump Administration’s effort to take money from farm workers’ pockets. Farm workers, regardless of status, perform some of the most essential yet backbreaking work in the American economy,” said UFW President Teresa Romero. “It is therefore the bare minimum that the H-2A Program include wage protections to ensure our nation’s farm workers, who are too often victims of abuse and exploitation, not have their already meager wages pushed further down. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration to improve wages and working conditions for America’s farm workers, including in the upcoming DOL rulemaking process.”
“Farm workers are already among the lowest paid workers, receive little to no benefits and are struggling to provide for their families, especially with the increasing costs of essentials such as housing and food,” said UFW Foundation Chief Executive Officer Diana Tellefson Torres. “We are proud of the role we played in stopping the Trump Administration’s attempt to freeze farm worker wages. Farm workers deserve fair pay as the essential workers they are and have always been.”