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April 2007, Volume 13, Number 2

RURAL AMERICA

California: Freeze, New Cities
Freeze. California citrus and vegetable crops were devastated by a five-night freeze from January 11 to 17, 2007. Losses of over $1.3 billion,

Swift Fallout, Poultry Raid
Swift Fallout. On December 12, 2006, Immigration and Customs Enforcement mounted its largest-ever workplace raid, targeting six plants owned by Swift

States, Cities
States, cities and private industries are moving in different directions to deal with unauthorized migrants. States such as Arizona and cities such

Minimum Wages, Poverty
The Senate voted 94-3 on February 1, 2007 to increase the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $5.85 within 60 days of enactment, and to $6.55 in 2008

FARM WORKERS

California: EEEC, Housing, Health
EEEC. California's Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition is a federal-state effort established in 2005 to combat the underground economy

Florida: McDonald's, Evans FLC
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers in March 2005 persuaded Taco Bell after a four-year boycott to increase the amount it pays for fresh tomatoes by

Colorado, Oregon, Washington
Colorado. Colorado in summer 2006 approved laws that require state identification for government services and allow police to check suspects'

FLOC, Northeast
FLOC. The Farm Labor Organizing Committee represents Mexican workers with H-2A visas brought to the US by the North Carolina Growers Association.

Chavez, UFW, ALRB, Unions
Cesar Estrada Chavez was born March 31, 1927 and died April 21, 1993. Chavez established the National Farm Workers Association in Delano in 1962,

 
IMMIGRATION

Immigration Reform: AgJOBS
The Senate Judiciary Committee took up immigration reform on February 28, 2007. Bush administration officials endorsed an expanded guest worker

H-2A, H-2B Programs
Some 170 H-2A workers sued Florida-based Ag-Mart Produce in January 2007, alleging they were underpaid between June 2005 and July 2006 while picking

Farm Labor Shortages
Most news stories in California in winter 2007 emphasized the unemployment and lost earnings of workers displaced by the freeze, but some reported

Enforcement: Border, Interior
Border. The New York Times reported on February 21, 2007 that migrants were being deterred from entering the US along the Arizona-Mexico border.

Canada, UK, Middle East
Canada's Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program brings migrants from the Caribbean and Mexico to work on Canadian farms. Many work in the

OTHER

California: E Coli, Crops
E Coli. Farmers in Spring 2007 continued to grapple with efforts to assure that lettuce and other leafy greens are safe to eat. The e coli scare

US Farm Bill, Ethanol
US farm policy is renewed every five years. The Bush administration released its plans for the 2007 Farm Bill in February 2007, proposing to spend

Doha, Ethical Trade, Climate
The Doha free-trade talks continued during spring 2007, with many predicting that failure to agree would slow economic growth and poverty reduction

Wine: 2006 Crush, France
California crushed about 3.1 million tons of wine grapes in 2006; they were worth an average $547 a ton. The 1.8 million tons of grapes were crushed

Many farm employers complain of labor shortages. There is no official government definition of labor shortage, nor is there an economic definition, as changing prices and wages are expected to bring supply and demand into balance.
One labor shortage definition offered to assess labor shortage claims in the high-tech sector is employment rising faster than average and hourly

RESOURCES

Napa Worker Housing
A CIRS study of Napa farm workers estimated that 6,790 workers were employed in Napa county in 2005, including 55 percent who were employed at least