RESOLUTION OPPOSING PASSAGE OF STATE LEGISLATION ERODING THE RIGHTS OF FARM WORKERS

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has a long, proud history of protecting the rights of the downtrodden and disenfranchised;

WHEREAS, seasonal farm laborers, who put food on all our tables, have little access to or influence on government at any level;

WHEREAS, the laws of this Commonwealth should foster and not eliminate decent human conditions;

WHEREAS, the Seasonal Farm Labor Act (P.L. 537, No. 93, & 101) of June 23, 1978, affords the minimal protections under which any laborer should have to toil including: (a) guaranteeing that farm workers are paid at least the minimum wage; (b) restricting the number of hours farms workers are permitted to labor; ensuring that representatives of organizations concerned with the health, welfare and dignity of farm workers may visit them in their housing during non-working hours; and (d) regulating conditions and maximum occupancy at farm labor camps;

WHEREAS, Senate Bill No. 1238 would deprive virtually all seasonal workers and, in particular, mushroom workers of significant protections under the Seasonal Farm Labor Act by (a) excluding mushroom workers from the definition of seasonal worker, thereby eliminating them from the minimum wage requirement now applicable; (b) abolishing existing maximum hourly requirements for mushroom workers by allowing employers to pay them on a piece work basis; severely curtailing the rights of all farm workers to be visited in their housing during non-working hours by representatives of organizations concerned with their health, welfare and dignity; and (d) eliminating or weakening regulations governing conditions and maximum occupancy at farm labor camps;

WHEREAS, passage of Senate Bill No. 1238 would affect residents of Philadelphia, who are transported to outlying farms to work as laborers;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association opposes passage of Senate Bill No. 1238 or any substantially similar bill that would erode the rights of farm workers;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association will take all reasonable steps to discourage passage of Senate Bill No. 1238 or any substantially similar bill including, but not limited to, contacting Pennsylvania legislators to inform them of the Bar's position.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: October 22, 1992