'Agriculture would disappear': Advocates pushing for farm labor protections in NJ

Jannet G. commutes about two hours every day to plant and harvest crops at a farm in New Jersey to support her three children and partner at home in Pennsylvania.

She has been working on the farm for about a year, she said through a translator, and, like many farm workers, traveled to the U.S. from Mexico to find work to provide for her family. She still enjoys working at the farm and has been vocal about advocating for immigrants' rights in New Jersey and the rest of the country. 

Jannet's story is a common tale among farm workers across the country, many of whom are paid low wages, work long hours in the heat, and face deportation risks if they are undocumented. About half of the farm labor is done by undocumented immigrants, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The United Farm Workers Foundation, an organization that advocates for the rights of the workers, has been pushing lawmakers to pass new safety regulations and protections, like implementing a national heat standard, banning pesticides that harm people, and creating an accessible path to citizenship. 

The United Farm Workers Foundation invited every U.S. senator to participate in its "Take Our Jobs" initiative, in which a senator is paired with a farm and toils alongside workers for a day to demonstrate how tough farm labor is. Teresa Romero, the president of the United Farm Workers, said New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker was one of only two senators to accept the invitations and spent Friday morning working at a New Jersey farm.

Read the complete article at www.eu.northjersey.com.


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