October 13, 2017: California Farm Labor 2017
California’s farm labor market may be at an inflection point, adjusting to fewer unauthorized Mexican newcomers, higher minimum wages and 8/40 overtime, and stepped up enforcement of immigration laws. This seminar reviews new data on farm workers and their earnings, trends in the H-2A program (numbers, commodities, areas), and farm labor contractors, the largest component of the crop support services industry that brings more workers to crop farms than are hired directly by crop farmers.
We expect 35 people, including several UCD graduate students who could conduct research on farm labor issues. Speakers will make 15 minute presentations, and lunch will be provided.
Goals of the meeting include:
- Comparing average jobs, total workers, and average earnings and explore the use of UI claimant data to compare worker characteristics in UI and NAWS data
- Study FLCs to distinguish “captive” and “partner” FLCs, those created by or who work with one grower year-after-year versus “independent FLCs who move workers from farm to farm
- Explore the feasibility of obtaining demographic data on H-2A workers from their visa applications and having NAWS interview some while they are employed in CA
- Examine trends in labor law and immigration enforcement to assess impacts on farm workers and farm labor markets
9:00 AM: Welcome: Jennifer Hernandez, Bryan Little, Philip Martin, Lupe Sandoval
9:15 AM: New data on farm employment and earnings
- Moderator: Philip Martin
- QCEW or UI and CES-ag data, Brandon Hooker and Dave Dahlberg, EDD
- Average jobs, total workers, and average earnings in 2015.
- NAWS: CA versus US Trends, Susan Gabbard, JBS
- NASS Farm Labor Survey, Curt Stock, USDA, NASS
10:15 AM: H-2A Program
- Moderator: Jennifer Hernandez
- Roman Diaz and Francisco Macias, EDD
- Ron Hughes, CalVans
- Ruben Lugo, WHD
- Shasta Sanborn and Cesar Ponce, HCD
- Trends in applications, housing, and prevailing wages
- Future: could a database of piece rates and productivity standards be created by commodity and area from prevailing wage surveys and cross checked with ARE costs and returns studies?
11:15 AM: Break
11:30 AM: FLCs
- Moderator: Lupe Sandoval
- Amy Coombe, DIR
- Don Villarejo, CIRS ret
- Rick Mines, DOL ret
- Future: The NAWS found that almost 40 percent of CA crop workers were employed by an FLC in 2015-16, and most FLC employees had only one employer during the year. Are FLC employees working for “captive” or “partner” FLCs linked to one farm, or do they move from farm to farm, so that a crop worker with one ag employer may work or 10 or 15 farms?
12:30 PM: Lunch
1:30 PM: WHD, ICE, Bills
- Moderator: Bryan Little
- Ruben Lugo, DOL WHD
- Carol Webster and Paulette Nwaogu, DHS-ICE
- What is the experience with federal and state enforcement in ag? What share of labor and I-9 inspections result in violations? Which violatoins are typical? Are there significant differences between complaints and targeted inspections?
- Future: Any correlations between enforcement in a commodity or area and changes in wage and employment trends, that is, how do employers respond? Do workers avoid or move to areas after enforcement actions?
2:30 PM: Adjourn