This summer, our outreach staff worked hard to visit camps and make sure that the farm workers were being treated well by their employers. During one of their last visits in August, they found several camps that showed signs of bedbug infestations. Lots of empty cans of bedbug spray, mattresses thrown out or perched above clothes lines. When we spoke to the workers living at those camps, they confirmed that some of the units had bedbugs. We reported infestation to the corresponding state agency, so they could do an inspection and collaborate with the employer to rectify the situation. However, the response we received from the agency was lackluster, “Bedbugs are not an uncommon problem in Migrant Labor Housing." Still, the agency agreed to assign it to an inspector. Unfortunately, it is true that bedbugs are common in Migrant Labor Housing locations, but we believe that stricter enforcement will reduce the health hazard bedbugs pose to our migrant population. This is our priority. Workers change housing units frequently as they follow the crops, often having moved on by the time an inspector can respond.
Currently, Michigan has five Migrant Labor Housing inspectors for the entire state. With about
900 registered camps
in the lower peninsula, 4,000 living units, and a capacity for about 23,000 people. With frequent bedbug and rodent infestations, the safety of our state's migrant workers is at risk. More resources are necessary for our state to be able to adequately monitor the conditions of Migrant Labor Housing. Join us in contacting your
to share your concern for the safety of our migrant workers.