SB 5438, under consideration by our legislature, represents a significant step toward protecting the safety and dignity of workers brought to our state under the H-2A farm labor program. It is the top priority this session for Rosalinda Guillen and Community to Community, and Ramon Torres, President of FUJ, leaders in addressing the issues of migrant workers in this State.
SB 5438 would create a new Office of Agricultural and Seasonal Workforce Services within the ESD, staffed and authorized to conduct field visits of H2A workplace sites. It would create an oversight committee composed of farm employers and farm workers. It would permit the charging of a fee, on farm employers who request workers under the H-2A program and this would fund the new office and the work of the oversight committee.
This is the only type of legislation of this nature in the nation–no other state is proposing or providing adequate, coordinated and funded oversight. It will be setting precedent.
SB 5438 has been passed by the Senate and has passed to the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee.
- First, it must be voted favorably out of that committee, which is holding a public hearing on Thursday 3/21.
- Then must pass out of the Rules Committee for a vote by the full House
- The deadline for the House vote is April 3rd
We really need to your help to ensure that the House votes this bill out of committee and then on the floor. Please email the members of the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee in support of SB 5438
Also, please phone Representative Mike Sells, Chair of the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee, 360-786-7840; and Dinah LeDuc, Legislative Assistant to that Committee, 360-786-7131, to say you strongly support SB 5438 and want to see it voted favorably out of their committee to House Rules.
Then contact your Representatives and ask them to support this bill as well.