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 Michigan Migrant Legal Aid Dec. 2016

Slighting the Hands That Feed Us:
Our Director's Michigan Bar Journal Article Explains Need for Better Employment Laws and More Frequent Court Enforcement
How Labor Laws Leave Farmworkers in Left Field.  Michigan Bar Journal, November 2016, Employment and Labor Law feature, by  Teresa Hendricks Pitsch. 

As many of you know, we've mobilized growers in support of drivers' licenses for farm workers --many of whom are undocumented migrants who haven't been able to get a driver's license since 2008.  We've been including growers in our conversations with legislators to support bills introduced by Rep. Chang and others that would allow driver's licenses and state IDs for these workers. The good news is that Farm Bureau is now formally backing support for the bills, and is hoping their recently passed resolution will give the house bills a shot at passage.  The bad news is that there may not be enough republican support for real change.

Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan: Empowering Hispanics through Training, Advocacy & Service
The Hispanic Bar Association members celebrated unity and solidarity in its mission to  empower Hispanics.  Attorneys in attendance on the Dinner Cruise and Gala shared memories, stories and plans of  continuing advocacy and service.  Pictured is Migrant Legal Aid's, Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch, with with  Lawrence Garcia and  Jason Goelde. HBAM Dinner Cruise

2016 National Farmworker Conference
MLA Staff with TRLA's Bill Grigg and President of Farmworker Justice Bruce Goldstein

MLA Staff with General Counsel and Senior Attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center  SPLC Jim Knoepp.

In the first full week of November 2016, lawyers from MLA attended the National biennial Farmworker Law Conference. The conference allows  attorneys the opportunity to meet other lawyers nationwide, deepen legal skills, and strengthen relationships among experts, mentors and mentees.  Farmworker lawyers shared the most recent updates to national employment laws, latest class action and other case developments, and related topics affecting migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Because the conference was held the same week as the presidential election, a consensus emerged among attendees:  Our work as lawyers for farmworkers is even more important now.  

We Stand With Our Migrant Families

 We have received increasing reports of hate toward our farmworker families.  Many fear being seen in the community and are terrified of an uncertain future.  We encourage everyone (who is inclined) to reach out to vulnerable families to offer moral support and good will. 
At MLA our civil legal services for the poor involve helping migrant families to  overcome abuses, dangers, wage thefts, intimidation, harassment, retaliation, exploitation, labor trafficking, and discrimination.  Visit our Facebook page for breaking news, and consider a donation:   click Attorney donation, or Donation from general public.
This is incredible.  Farm workers were historically excluded from 
labor laws enacted in previous eras.  This has been a long and shameful discriminatory past.  But then this happens:  in the year 2016, when we have a chance to include them in labor protections, OSHA says not so fast.  Excluded!
Sometimes, you just have to take things into your own hands for real change.  The Workers Center of Central New York has filed suit charging that farmworkers' constitutional rights are being violated because of their exclusion from labor law protections. The case is being watched by farmworker attorneys across the nation as its potential impact could be far reaching.

Between 2009 and 2011, two workers have been killed while servicing pumps on floating pontoons that are not typically designed to be stood on. 

An irony in the 2016 presidential election of the U.S. is that the agricultural heartland voted overwhelmingly for a candidate who wants to deport millions of undocumented workers. 

With the help of the app currently being fabricated farmworkers will no longer have to rely on word of mouth, flyers etc. to locate jobs or resources for any other services they may need. 

Did Big Ag vote against its own interests? It appears the answer maybe 'yes.'  
Smooch-A-Subaru Contest

Migrant Legal Aid supported Veronica Zamarripa, volunteer of MLA, during the final round of the Smooch-A-Subaru contest.  Veronica beat the world record for smooching a car after keeping her lips on the car for 78 hours (four days). Congratulations on your achievement Veronica! 
MLA is dedicated to defending and preserving farmworker jobs, dignity, health, income, and legal rights.  
Teresa Hendricks
Migrant Legal Aid
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