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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: November 28, 2023 11:33 AM
From: Representative Danilo Burgos and Rep. Manuel Guzman, Jr., Rep. Joseph C. Hohenstein, Rep. Dan L. Miller
To: All House members
Subject: Equal Rights for Agricultural Workers in Pennsylvania
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 Reps. Danilo Burgos, Manny Guzman, Joe Hohenstein and 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 joining us in co-sponsoring this critical worker rights bill to extend collective bargaining and organizing rights to Pennsylvania’s agricultural workers.