Client Advocacy

Recent Issues

We are happy to share examples of our clients' stories and the successful advocacy that our staff has accomplished.  Click on a year below to see examples from that year.  You can find information about more recent issues on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/FarmworkerLaw

2015

2014

2013

 

Current Issues 

Updated October 2016

State of Michigan Decides that Farmworker on Small Farms are Not Covered by the State Minimum Wage

The state of Michigan has interpreted the state minimum wage law in a way that excludes farmworkers on small farms from being protected by Michigan's minimum wage.  These farmworkers are already excluded from the federal minimum wage. FLS has written an Issue Brief about this development here.

Puerto Rican Farmworkers File Discrimination Charges with EEOC

FLS and Latino Justice PRLDEF represent 15 farmworkers from Puerto Rico who came to Michigan in 2015 to harvest apples.  They have filed charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding their treatment once they got to Michigan.  See the Latino Justice PRLDEF press release here.

Minimum Wage for Piece-Rate Farmworkers

In February 2016, Michigan's Wage and Hour Program ruled that a family of asparagus harvesters were not entitled to the protection of the state's minimum wage law.  This decision is contrary to decades of agency policy that held that Michigan piece rate harvesters were entitled to a minimum hourly wage.  

FLS has issued a summary of this development linked here.

A radio interview with FLS about this issue can be found here.

Our Facebook post on the topic is here.

FLS Calendars

FLS' farmworker calendars run from May 2016 to April 2017. They contain bilingual information for farmworkers about their rights in employment, housing, unemployment, immigration, and other topics. Please let us know if your agency needs some to hand out to farmworker customers this season. Our calendar is also available as a download from our website at http://www.farmworkerlaw.org/calendar

List of Michigan farmworker jobs paying $12.02/hour

FLS regularly updates its list of farmworker jobs in Michigan that pay at least $12.02 per hour in 2016.  The list can be found in English and Spanish here: http://www.farmworkerlaw.org/h2a.  The postings of these jobs are often the first step in the employer applying to bring in foreign workers under the H-2A visa program if they can’t find enough workers in the U.S.  Workers in the U.S. have the right to apply for these jobs up until the half-way point of the job.  Feel free to share these jobs with any farmworkers who might be interested in them.

Attorney Posting

FLS has an opening for an attorney and has posted the position here: http://www.farmworkerlaw.org/atty2016

Driver's License Bill

Under current law, foreign nationals from 120 countries who have signed two treaties with the U.S. can drive legally in Michigan using their valid foreign license.  Senate Bill 501 was signed into law in May 2016 and it takes effect in early 2017. This law will expand driving privileges to foreign nationals from countries that have not signed the treaties, as long as they have a valid foreign license. Drivers from these additional countries may also have to carry proof of legal immigration status.  In addition, under the new all foreign drivers would be required to carry an English translation of their licenses.  

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FLS is funded in part by the Legal Services Corporation.  Please be advised that your contribution may not be used in any manner inconsistent with with the Legal Services Act and Regulations.