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Upcoming Events
Wed. September 13, 2017 
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT 
Versluis Orchards

MLA Grantors Include:

Crop Duster Blasts Blueberry Workers, Migrant Legal Aid Hits Back with a Lawsuit.   
MLA is suing Robertson Crop Dusting Service, Inc., and one of their pilots, Daniel Isom, who MLA's clients claim sprayed pesticides on nearly 30 people. MLA's clients reported that they were picking blueberries when the pilot began to spray a neighboring field, but also sprayed directly over them.  The plane apparently sprayed on them twice, during two passes. The harvesters, who say they were in plain sight of the pilot at all times, narrowly escaped the third pass as they ran out of the field.   State records show the crop dusting outfit has paid a fine for a similar allegation. The workers immediately began coughing, had headaches; and had difficulty breathing.  Some went to the Emergency room and have suffered serious long-term injury. Attorney Mariza Gamez-Garcia is pursuing the full damages they can receive. ... read Complaint here.
Heart of West Michigan United Way is doing their annual Stuff the Bus drive to collect school supplies for children in need. Migrant Legal Aid is a drop off point this year, so stop by (and let your friends know to stop by) our office and leave supplies in the box! August 8 is the deadline to drop off supplies, as the bus will be arriving that day to collect all of our donations. Thank you ahead of time for all of your donations and we look forward to seeing you at our office and stuffing the bus!
Egg Farm Cleaner Claims Lung Damage from Toxic Chemical 
MLA represents a woman whose medical records appear to show she suffered permanent lung damage from a chemical cleaner she used at the egg farm. The claim alleges that her employer neglected to give proper protecti ve eq uipment for  working with a specific chemical whose label required it. According to MLA's client, she was not provided the respirator needed to protect her from burning her lungs.  Her doctor, after receiving the safety sheet on the chemical, provided a note for her employer stating the proper safety equipment (respirator) should be provided. After the woman turned in the note,  she was fired.  MLA is handling the case, pursuing the highest damages and other remedies available.
Harvest of Justice 2017
GET YOUR SEAT AT THE TABLE!  Our Harvest of Justice Luncheon is September 13th, 2017.  Join us join us at Versluis Orchards, in Walker, MI, just 9 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids. Our annual luncheon is to honor the hard work of the migrants and to celebrate the harvest. Migrant Legal Aid will present the Responsible Retailer Award to an outstanding retailer who most embodies the notion of fairness and quality in food production and sales. Please see the attached flier with more details, as well as a description on how to donate.
Can't make it?   Donate $100 and we'll invite 2 farmworkers in your honor. 

Fair Food Project
SpartanNash renews the Fair Food Pledge of Migrant Legal Aid for 2017.  Retailers who commit to the pledge demonstrate their willingness to protect migrant farmworkers' wages and working conditions, helping to ensure that their vendors treat workers ethically and humanely.   For membership in the Fair Food Project, contact and request a membership application.  Read about the pledge here 
MLA Leads Effort to Save Farms, Local Food and Local Farm Jobs
Chinese Asparagus, anyone?  Without local farmland, where will our food come from?  Where will farm jobs go?  Since 1978, Kent County has lost 72,507 acres of farmland.  If you have a passion to protect our local food resources and agricultural economy in Kent County, don't miss this critical interactive conference.  
October 4, 2017 from 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm at Blandford Nature Center
Hear from Farm Experts:
--Why Kent County is Losing Farms  
--Possible Funding Options to Save Our Farms
Help Decide:
--Which Approach is Best for Kent County?
--What's Your Role?
--Where Do We Go From Here?

Seating is limited, RSVP now.
Victim Rights Conference
Calling all Crime Victim Advocates: The 2017 PAAM Annual Victim Rights Conference takes place this year from August 29 - September 1, 2017 at the Grand Traverse Resort, Traverse City (Acme), Michigan. Our director, Teresa Hendricks, will be speaking along with Chris Becker, Kent County Prosecutor, regarding their pilot project for victims with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). They will discuss disparities in the protection of victims of crime whose primary language is not English. The pilot study focused on the pre-court services, where victim communications were not flagged to be sent in the victims' primary language. The joint project between MLA and the Office of the Kent County Prosecuting Attorney explored how equal language access may be denied for some victims, and ways to ensure that victims are able to benefit equally from the victim services and restitution.
See more at 
Victim Rights Conference Flier

Farmworker Justice Statement on "Joint Employer" Bill in the House of Representatives

The "Save Local Business Act," HR 3441, is a bill currently in the U.S. House of Representatives that Farmworker Justice warns could " remove an important mechanism to protect farmworkers and other low-wage workers from suffering violations of the minimum wage and child labor requirements." The full statement, including comments by the President of Farmworker Justice Bruce Goldstein, is included below.

MLA is dedicated to defending and preserving farmworker housing, health, income, and dignity.  
Teresa Hendricks
Migrant Legal Aid

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