News Release

Trump Trying to Cut Pay for Farmworkers, Who “Should Get Hazard Pay Instead”


DAVID BACON, dbacon at, @photos4justice
Bacon is a California-based writer and photojournalist and recently wrote the piece “America’s Farmworkers — Now ‘Essential,’ but Denied the Just-Enacted Benefits” for The American Prospect.

Bacon said today: “Empty shelves in supermarkets are proof that the work of farmworkers is essential, if we didn’t know it already. But instead of rewarding this work, and the courage of farmworkers as they continue laboring in the fields, the Trump administration wants to punish them by trying to cut their wages.

“Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows are trying to breathe new life into an old proposal to lower, and even abandon, the guaranteed wage received by hundreds of thousands of guestworkers in the H-2A visa program.

“Last year over 250,000 H-2A guestworkers were recruited by U.S. growers. While halting asylum claims on the border, alleging that claimants might bring the virus with them, the administration is pushing growers to bring in even more guestworkers. Field labor in the U.S. already has the lowest possible wages. Now the administration wants to cut them even further, to make the labor of guestworkers even more attractive to growers. When the wages for guestworkers go down, the wages of all farmworkers plummet as well.

“Trump and his political allies already have excluded half of the farmworkers living in the U.S. — over a million people — from any benefits under the recent CARES Act. Their work is certainly essential, but they are working and living in conditions where the spread of the virus is an immediate danger.

“Farmworkers are being treated as cheap and disposable labor, rather than being honored for the work they do. They should get hazard pay instead, on top of a true living wage, and the basic healthcare and economic benefits afforded to other workers.”