Electronic invitations sent to all 100 senators last month with farm workers in several states personally extending them on social media.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—In conjunction with Labor Day, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) today accepted invitations by professional farm workers to work alongside them in the fields as part of the national “Take Our Jobs” campaign by the United Farm Workers and UFW Foundation as Congress awaits action on immigration. Details of when and where the two senators will labor on farms are forthcoming.
The UFW and UFW Foundation’s Take Our Jobs campaign in 2010 reached four million-plus Americans who visited the union’s special website during a recession with high joblessness. The UFW offered to link the unemployed with jobs in agriculture near their homes anywhere in America. Yet only 11 people responded to the offer to work in the fields from the UFW, which produced much national news coverage. Stephen Colbert featured Take Our Jobs in segments on his Comedy Central show and worked a day in the fields himself. See here and here and here. Colbert even testified before a U.S. House immigration subcommittee.
The bipartisan, farm worker- and farm employer-supported Farm Workforce Modernization Act allows undocumented farm workers to earn the right to permanently stay in this country if they work in agriculture over four-to-eight years. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in both 2019 and in March of this year, each time with strong bipartisan votes. Last month, the Senate took a historic step and approved a budget resolution that includes granting legal status to farm workers, Dreamers, TPS holders and other essential workers.
“Day in and day out, farm workers show up to America’s hardest jobs. They face down extreme heat, injury, and illness to put food on our tables—and yet too many are denied fair wages, workplace protections, and a path to legal status,” said Sen. Alex Padilla. “As I fight for immigration reform that recognizes the critical value of our farm workers, I’m honored to accept UFW’s invitation to spend time working alongside professional farm workers and see firsthand the reality that essential immigrant workers live every day.”
“As we observe Labor Day and celebrate the contributions that generations of workers have made to our country, we must also recognize the work performed by our nation’s farm workers,” said Sen. Cory Booker. “Their critical efforts help sustain our agricultural and food systems even while many are still denied basic legal protections and employee benefits. I’m proud to accept UFW’s invitation to join farm workers for a day at their jobs, learn firsthand about their struggles, and use the experience as a way to better advocate on their behalf in the Senate.”
“Farm labor is the hardest work in America,” said UFW President Teresa Romero. “We commend Senators Padilla and Booker for agreeing to come to see for themselves. Undocumented immigrants make up half of our current professional farm workforce. They deserve immigration action now.”
“We applaud Senators Padilla and Booker for accepting the invitation to work a day in the shoes of farm workers to experience the hard work and commitment it takes to feed America,” added UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres. “This Labor Day week, we encourage all other 98 senators to honor the essential role farm workers play in our communities, economy and nation by accepting their Take Our Jobs invitations as Congress decides on whether to give farm workers the ability to apply for legal status.”