Farmworker Safety Matters!
That's why Migrant Legal Aid has been leading our advisory group of specialists to compile the Worker Protection Standard Resource Guide for Agricultural Employers in Michigan.

The new 66-page Guide covers farmworker safety when dealing with pesticides. Many agricultural employers, and their workers, have been asking for a compiled resource on the updated Worker Protection Standard. Employers, workers, (and the environment) can now benefit from this guide for Michigan with the latest updates, information, local resources and practice tips. It includes Michigan Practice Tips for employers, and a pocket card for workers. After an exhaustive and comprehensive undertaking, we are happy to announce that the first edition WPS Guide is finished and is posted on our website in our beta test version.

The Guide will help employers in Michigan follow applicable safety standards related to pesticide use, proper work clothing, proper respirator fit and use, and more. By helping employers comply with these updated standards, we can help ensure that agricultural employees are working in safer environments.

Our advisory group included professionals from the U.S. EPA, MDARD, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan State University College of Medicine, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, several local agricultural employers, and a worker focus group to create this Guide. We thank them for their assistance, and we hope that this collaborative approach will provide a well-rounded Guide that will help keep workers safe.

You can view the online version here.
 ¡Sí, se puede!
March Forward
14th Annual Cup of Justice Golf Outing
Our annual golf outing was a huge success last year, and we can’t wait for the 2020 event! It will be held on June 19th, 2020 at the Mines Golf Course. 

Please contact Mary Bennett at for donations and sponsorships. Click here for team registration.

We can’t wait to see you there and share everything we have accomplished this year!
Celebrating Cesar Chavez
March 31, 2020 marks what would be Cesar Chavez's 93rd birthday. Cesar Chavez was an influential leader who fought for the rights of farm workers. He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) along with Dolores Huerta, who will be speaking at our Harvest of Justice Event in the Fall.

His mission helped inspire the work that Migrant Legal Aid does today, so we are honoring all that he accomplished to defend the rights of farm workers and Latinos in the United States.

This month, there are several events happening in Grand Rapids to honor Cesar Chavez. You can see a list of events on the right.
Photo Source: NPR , Cathy Murphy/Getty Images
Cesar Chavez Events in Grand Rapids During the Month of March

Supporting Workers and Their Rights
The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) recently released a statement regarding the US Department of Labor's (US DOL) failure to protect farm workers against abuse from their employers.

The statement calls out US DOL for failing to take action against a labor contractor and several employers in North Carolina who violated workers' labor rights. When the abuses were investigated by US DOL, they told employers "they had no need to worry" (FLOC), and the case was closed in a matter of days. The affected workers were told they would be paid by last November 15th, but they still have not been paid. Additionally, no legal action has been taken against the labor contractor, the affected workers have been blacklisted from the H2A program, and DOL is refusing to investigate retaliation claims (FLOC).

According to FLOC, the workers who have been blacklisted from the H2A program are seeking the following from US DOL:

1.    Release detailed information about the investigation to the workers involved and their union

2.    Bring a resolution to the Barajas claim by bringing legal action ASAP if Barajas will not pay

3.    Include a real investigation on the retaliation against workers for speaking to DOL

4.   End collaboration with industry players complicit in human rights violations

5.   Release information FLOC requested under the Freedom of Information Act showing what information US DOL has about Reynolds contract growers that have violated federal law

We support FLOC's efforts to protect workers' rights, uphold the law, and hold law enforcement accountable. They have created a petition you can sign if you want to hold DOL accountable for their failure to protect workers over Big Tobacco companies.
Farm Workforce Modernization Act
Over the last few months, we have been sharing information about the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The proposed bill has been passed in the House and will be making its way through the Senate.

This new immigration policy would provide a path for many farm workers and their family members to live and work in the United States legally and eventually become citizens. Additionally, it would create changes to the H-2A agricultural guest worker program that would increase protections for domestic and H-2A workers.

Many Michigan workers and residents have the potential to benefit from this new immigration policy. If you want to learn more about this bill, click here. You may also click here to contact your Michigan Senators and share your opinions about this bill.
March is Census Month
March marks the beginning of main stream Census efforts. The Census Bureau will be sending out invitations to residents asking them to complete the Census this Spring.

Migrant Legal Aid is running a special program to help make sure that migrant and seasonal farm workers (MSFWs) are counted. Traditionally, MSFWs are undercounted in the Census because of several factors. Some of those factors include high mobility and distrust in the government. We are trying to address these barriers to completing the Census and answer any questions or concerns.

It is important that everyone living in the United States, regardless of age, race, sex, and immigration status, is counted in the 2020 Census.

Census data determines not only political representation, but also funding for programs such as infrastructure, health care, and school lunches. So, Migrant Legal Aid will be a Census Assistance Center this Spring and Summer to encourage MSFWs and the rest of the community to complete the Census.

Contact our Census Hotline if you have questions about the Census or our outreach program by texting (616) 238-0568. ¡Todos Contamos!
Worker Protection Standard Guide
Defending Workers' Rights
"Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled a plan for farmworker and food chain employee rights Monday that would bolster federal safety protections and workers’ access to basic rights."

Read the full story here.
Photo Source: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times