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Public Forum & March For Amnesty & Justice For Agricultural Workers

Farmworkers have traditionally been excluded from laws that protect nearly all other working people who wish to organize a union. Although farmworkers in Washington State cannot be legally discriminated against for joining a union, there is no legal mechanism to oversee union elections and collective bargaining. A rally has been scheduled in Yakima, Washington, on Sunday, August 5th, to call attention to Washington State's discriminatory practices against Agricultural Farmworkers. The Washington State March for Amnesty & Justice For Agricultural Workers will start at 10 AM. For more info see the United Farmworkers Website There is however, a policy that exists under the NAFTA regulations that provides for protection of workers, called NAALC, Under this NAFTA labor accord, individuals may lodge complaints, called "public communications," with the National Administration Office (NAO) of a country not involved in the complaint. A complaint was filed with Mexico's labor department in 1998. The workers' complaint cited violations of freedom of association, health and safety, and non-discrimination principles under NAALC. In August of 1999, the Mexican NAO completed its review of the complaint, and requested ministerial consultations. A May 2000 accord between the two countries' secretaries of labor authorized the August 8 public forum at Yakima Community College. This will be the first time that a broad, industry-wide complaint under the NAALC has come to public forum in the United States. It will be the workers' opportunity to share their concerns about lack of protection for their international labor rights and lack of enforcement of minimum labor and health and safety standards. For more information, contact the United Farmworkers of America at (509) 839 4903.
United Farmworkers Website
NAALC --NAFTA Labor Accord FAQ
August 8 Public Forum