Support laws to protect migrant workers

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: January 5 2014 | 2:44 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:39 am in

Your Jan. 1 editorial “A black eye for our state” was excellent. When I lived in southeast Florida, I was a volunteer member of an advocacy group for migrant workers that supported them in Palm Beach County. Some of the migrant workers were legal citizens of the United States and some others were illegal immigrants. Most all of them worked for agribusinesses and private farmers who grew vegetables, fruit or flowers.

Most all the workers that we had contact with were exploited. The owners of the farms would house them in old motels, mobile homes or sheds, which were in bad shape. Yet the workers had to pay unreasonable rates for rent. The owners also charged them unseasonable rates for trips in old buses to get groceries or clothing. In order to distance themselves from these practices, the owners would hire “crew bosses” and claimed that the crew bosses caused the exploitative practices.

I urge your readers to contact their state representatives to pass stricter laws and supply the personnel to enforce them so that such practices can be eliminated. Keep up the good work in exposing those Iowa farmers who do similar things to their farm workers.

Jim Slitor



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