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Farm Labor

December 12, 2008 | Teresa Watanabe, Watanabe is a Times staff writer.
Aiming to ease farm labor shortages, the Bush administration issued sweeping changes to the nation's agricultural guest worker program Thursday, but California growers said the action would have only a minimal effect on their needs. The controversial rules, many months in the making by U.S.
December 11, 2008 | associated press
As it prepares to leave office, the Bush administration is moving to make it easier for U.S. farming companies to hire foreign workers, which farmworker groups say will worsen wages and working conditions. The farmworker groups said changes to the H2A visa program, used by the agriculture industry to hire temporary workers, were posted on the Labor Department's website at midnight Tuesday but later taken down.
October 23, 2008 | The Associated Press
Six farm employees in Iowa were charged with animal abuse and neglect Wednesday in connection with a video obtained by an animal-rights group that showed workers abusing pigs. Authorities in Greene County northwest of Des Moines began investigating about a month ago after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a video of workers at a farm in BayardIowa, hitting sows with metal rods, slamming piglets on a concrete floor and bragging about sodomizing sows with rods.
July 16, 2008 | Esmeralda Bermudez, Times Staff Writer
At least eight people were presumed dead Tuesday after a septic truck collided with a sport utility vehicle carrying farmworkers and both vehicles plunged into an irrigation canal in a rural area of Central California near Modesto. Divers helped recover the truck and the body of its driver at 6 p.m. after working for three hours in choppy, fast-moving waters, authorities said. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Mayolo Banuelos.
June 14, 2008 | From the Associated Press
State officials are shutting down a San Joaquin Valley farm labor contractor that hired a pregnant teen who died while pruning grapes last month. Authorities suspect 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez died because Merced Farm Labor denied her proper access to shade and water even as she worked in 100-degree heat. The California Department of Industrial Relations issued the stop-work order Thursday.
November 22, 2007 | From the Associated Press
As Americans feast on Thanksgiving meals, the agriculture industry and workers who supplied the bounty have a plate full of worries. Farmers are caught in a political stalemate over a farm bill designed to provide a safety net for production of their crops, some of which are being enjoyed across the country today. Many agriculture employers fear that crackdowns on illegal immigrants will leave them with labor shortages.
October 8, 2007 | Stan Lehman, From the Associated Press
batatais, brazil -- As dawn cracks over seemingly endless fields of sugar cane, a ragged army of men and women sharpen their machetes to harvest the raw material for Brazil's "white gold." With machine-like precision, the cane cutters gather five 8-foot-tall stalks in the crook of one arm, bend over and cut them down with three swift machete whacks -- a process they will repeat over and over again for as long as 12 hours a day.
October 7, 2007 | Nicole Gaouette, Times Staff Writer
With a nationwide farmworker shortage threatening to leave unharvested fruits and vegetables rotting in fields, the Bush administration has begun quietly rewriting federal regulations to eliminate barriers that restrict how foreign laborers can legally be brought into the country.
July 12, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Former Nicaraguan banana workers signed a petition Wednesday to fire their legal team of U.S. and Nicaraguan lawyers and negotiate directly with companies they accused of using a harmful pesticide. Victorino Espinales, who leads workers exposed in the 1970s to the pesticide known as DBCP, told the Associated Press that they didn't believe their lawyers could win a case soon to be argued in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
July 11, 2007 | Claudia Lauer, Times Staff Writer
Sites associated with the life and work of Cesar E. Chavez, the farm labor organizer and activist, will be considered for national historic landmark status or addition to the National Register of Historic Places under legislation passed Tuesday by the House.
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