Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Petition Pimping: Farm Workers Getting The Shaft AGAIN!

And we ask the rhetorical question why is Saxby Chambliss (Ga-R) such a miserable ass?

"Poison pill" amendments would cut farm workers from the minimum wage

Last week, the House approved legislation (Fair Minimum Wage Act) to increase the minimum wage over two years to $7.25 per hour from $5.15 per hour. Now the bill has moved on to the senate, and is in jeopardy because anti-worker Senators are trying to attach proposals to the minimum wage bill that would be so harmful they would kill the bill.

Two of the amendments just filed directly discriminate against farm workers. Sen. Chambliss (R-GA) newly introduced amendments will affect all farm workers by turning back the clock to the pre-1966 days when migrant farm workers were excluded from minimum wage protections. The effect of Senator Chambliss' amendments is to lower the wage rates paid to foreign workers who come to this country to work in agriculture through the H2A program. This will of course have the corresponding effect of driving down wages for all farm workers – domestic, in addition to foreign. Moreover, this change would simply encourage the increasing use of foreign guest workers in potentially exploitive conditions.

Senator Chambliss' amendments would abolish the H-2A program’s Adverse Effect Wage Rate, redefine the “prevailing wage,” and eliminate the requirements to pay the state minimum wage rate.

This and other proposed amendments are simply unacceptable. But, that's the point. These proposals are "poison pills"--ideas so offensive to the bill's supporters that they could no longer vote for the bill.

There's still time to put these poison pills back in their bottle, though. The Senate can simply vote on a "clean bill" —a bill without these biased anti-worker add-ons—and give America's working people the raise they desperately need.

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