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Rural Migration Blog

Covid-19 and Farm Labor after 6 Months

October 13, 2020

The March-April 2020 lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the Covid-19 virus exempted essential food system and health care workers, so that farm, food processing, transportation, and supermarket workers continued to work while many other workers were laid off or worked remotely. There were predictions of farm labor shortages due to farm workers who had limited access to social safety net programs going to work while sick and spreading covid in often crowded housing.

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Private-Sector US Unions

October 13, 2020

The number of private-sector workers covered by collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) peaked in the 1970s, and has since declined. Some 7.5 percent of private sector workers were union members in 2019.

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BLS: US Labor Force Projections to 2029

October 13, 2020

The US population is aging and labor force growth is slowing. By 2029, a quarter of US residents are expected to be 65 and older, which is expected to increase employment in health care occupations and reduce labor force participation.

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UN: 5 Megatrends

October 13, 2020

The UN in September 2020 released a report on five megatrends that examine human activities that are reshaping the world: climate change, demographic shifts, urbanization, digital technologies, and inequalities.

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Food Spending and Farm Wages: 2019

October 13, 2020

The US Bureau of Labor Statistic's Consumer Expenditure Survey reported a total of 132 million US "consumer units" or households in 2019. They had an average of 2.5 persons, 1.3 earners and 1.9 motor vehicles; 63 percent were homeowners and the average age of the reference person in the household was 51. Average consumer unit income before taxes was $82,850, and average annual expenditures were $63,000.

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Farm Workers in Mexico and Turkey

September 29, 2020

Mexico and Turkey had gross national incomes (GNI) of less than $10,000 per capita in 2019, according to the World Bank. Mexico’s GNI per capita was twice Turkey’s in 2002, fell behind Turkish GNI after 2008, and was slightly less in 2019, when GNI per capita was $9,430 in Mexico and $9,610 in Turkey. Mexico’s GNI per capita rose 50 percent in the first two decades of the 20th century, while Turkey’s GNI per capita more than doubled.

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Covid-19, Farm Workers, and Food System Resilience

September 29, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted economies and labor markets. Governments issued stay-at-home orders for non-essential workers and activities, and unemployment rates rose despite programs and subsidies aimed at keeping workers on employer payrolls.

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Australia’s Seasonal Worker Program

September 29, 2020

Australia has about 75,000 workers employed in seasonal fruit and vegetable jobs, including 12,000 who arrive as guest workers under the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP). The goals of the SWP are to fill jobs lasting up to nine months in Australia and to promote development in the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) of Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu plus Timor-Leste by allowing workers from these places to earn high Australian wages.

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The CAW at 30

September 29, 2020

The Commission on Agricultural Workers (CAW) was created in Section 304 of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 to answer nine farm labor questions, including how IRCA's Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) legalization program and IRCA's employer sanctions affected US farm workers and farm employers. CAW also dealt with farm labor questions not linked directly to IRCA, such as whether agriculture relies on a temporary workforce and whether farm employers have trouble finding US workers because they do not use modern labor-management techniques.

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Migrant Farm Workers in Greece, Italy and Spain

September 29, 2020

The agricultural systems of Greece, Italy, and Spain produce many of the fresh fruits and vegetables consumed by local residents and Northern Europeans. Most farms are small and farmers are aging, but there are also large farms that hire foreign workers to produce fruits and vegetables, such as the “sea of plastic” covering fruit and vegetable farms in southeastern Spain.

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