Farmworker groups files lawsuit over wage freeze


Farmworker groups files lawsuit over wage freeze

The United Farm Workers and the UFW Foundation have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the US Department of Labor’s decision to freeze wages under the H-2A agricultural guest worker program.

The new regulation would lock in the adverse effect wage rate for H-2A workers for the next two years.

The lawsuit is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the new regulation from taking effect on Dec. 21, and a permanent injunction to have the rule set aside.

The groups are represented by Farmworker Justice, a non-profit organization based in D.C., and international law firm WilmerHale.

Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein says the decision to freeze wage rates is an unlawful act that “inflicts harm on some of the most vulnerable workers in the nation.”

The H-2A program has continued to expand in recent years. The Department of Labor approved more than 275,000 H-2A positions in 2020 and more than 200,000 foreign citizens received H-2A visas in 2019.