Ag News: USTR on Trade Relief and House Talks Worker Protection
**Florida lawmakers are urging U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to work with members of Congress to implement immediate trade relief measures for U.S. producers of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables.
According to www.thepacker.com, the May 5 letter was led by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, of Florida, and Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican, Democrat Darren Soto, Republican Austin Scott, Democrat Al Lawson, and Michigan Republican Bill Huizenga. The letter was also signed by 39 other congressional members.
**The House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Worker Protections held a hearing last week to discuss numerous proposals relating to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In discussions that included the minimum wage, committee members focused on the farm workforce’s exemption from FLSA-mandated overtime pay.
Committee Republicans argued to maintain the exemption, focused on concerns with smaller producers’ inability to comply, while Democrats reiterated the need for overtime pay and their support for the Fairness for Farm Workers Act.
**Efforts continue to provide COVID-19 vaccines to California farm employees.
Farmers and ranchers have been scheduling clinics at their individual farms, to supplement those organized by farm groups.
With vaccines now more widely available, the groups say they’re working to encourage vaccine use.
For example, the Farm Employers Labor Service is hosting a webinar this week to inform farm employees about vaccine effectiveness and safety.