|Posted:||March 25, 2021 01:35 PM|
|From:||Representative Dan L. Miller and Rep. Danilo Burgos, Rep. Manuel Guzman, Jr., Rep. Joseph C. Hohenstein|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Equal Rights for Agricultural Workers in Pennsylvania|
|Pennsylvania has long boasted of the importance of its agricultural industries, yet under our laws tens of thousands of agricultural workers are deprived of the fundamental rights that workers in other economic sectors take for granted.
It is past time for Pennsylvania to guarantee these basic rights are extended to all of its workers in agricultural industries. They include:
Introduced as HB1360
|Description:||In 1978, the Pennsylvania General Assembly adopted the Pennsylvania Seasonal Farm Labor Act (Act of 1978, No. 93) to address well documented failure of the Commonwealth to protect agricultural workers within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The proposed Farmworker Protection Act builds on the positive aspects of that historic protective legislation to provide fundamental protections in employment for all Pennsylvania farmworkers.
This omnibus legislative proposal offered by Rep. Joe Hohenstein will further address several of the fundamental areas of legal discrimination against farmworkers. This includes:
|Description:||Agricultural workers have historically been discriminated against in unemployment insurance compensation coverage, yet they and their families face the same struggles when out of work. This legislation would treat persons employed in agricultural labor as entitled to coverage for unemployment insurance compensation on the same terms as all other workers.
Pennsylvania adopted legislation to comply with the minimum requirements of the 1978 Federal Unemployment Tax Act, which only provides unemployment insurance coverage for a small subset of agricultural laborers, and under far more restrictive circumstances than those which apply to other workers. This legislation, offered by Reps. Manuel Guzman and Danilo Burgos, would treat agricultural labor the same as other categories of labor.
Furthermore, it would address the problem created when crew leaders who are not established fixed situs employers are categorized as principal employers for purposes of UC instead of the agricultural operator for whom the work is performed.
Please consider co-sponsoring this critical piece of legislation which would end the differential treatment of agricultural labor when it comes to unemployment compensation.
Introduced as HB1036
|Description:||The right of workers to freely organize collectively is fundamental. Collective bargaining puts the worker on equal footing with that of management, allowing for fair standards related to their pay, benefits and work environment.
The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act was adopted in 1937, and like the federal law it was based on, its exclusion of “agricultural laborers” from the protected rights extended to other workers was rooted in the relationship between agricultural labor and slavery.
Workers in Pennsylvania’s mushroom industry have been successful in establishing that the 1937 Pennsylvania General Assembly perception of “agricultural labor” did not include the kind of industrialized agricultural production of that major Pennsylvania industry. See Vlasic Farms Inc. v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Bd., 565 Pa. 555, 777 A.2d 80 (2001). However, tens of thousands of workers in Pennsylvania agricultural industries and farms continue to be excluded from the protected right to organize.
This legislation, offered by Rep. Dan Miller, would strike the exclusion of individuals employed as agricultural laborers from the protections of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act, allowing them the same protection afforded to other workers under the Act. It would extend to them the right to self-organize, to form, join or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively about the terms and conditions of their employment, and to engage in concerted activities for mutual aid or protection.
Please consider co-sponsoring this critical worker rights bill to extend collective bargaining and organizing rights to Pennsylvania’s agricultural workers.