The UFCW endorsed two pieces of legislation introduced on August 1 by U.S Senator Alex Padilla (Calif.), which would better equip the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to meet the needs of farm and food system workers.
The Supporting Our Farm and Food System Workforce Act would create the USDA Office of the Farm and Food System Workforce to serve as a liaison and resource for farm and food system workers. The Voice for Farm Workers Act would expand the role and staff of the USDA Farmworker Coordinator to allow for increased collaboration within the department, with farm workers, and with relevant stakeholders.
The bills are cosponsored by Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Peter Welch (Vt.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.). Senator Cory Booker (N.J.) is also a cosponsor of the Voice for Farm Workers Act.
“The UFCW is proud to endorse Senator Padilla’s Voice for Farm Workers Act and Supporting Our Farm and Food System Workforce Act,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “These key pieces of legislation would finally give food and agriculture workers a dedicated voice within the agriculture department by creating a Department of Farm and Food System Workforce, while allocating resources towards helping the USDA reshape an essential industry that for too long has prioritized corporate profits over both worker and consumer safety.”
“As the nation’s largest food processing and grocery worker union, we know how hard our food and agriculture members work to ensure grocery shelves are stocked and communities across the country have access to safe and quality food,” Perrone added. “Even during an unprecedented global pandemic and in record-breaking heat waves, our members get the job done in some of the most dangerous working conditions. The fact is, food and agricultural workers keep America fed, all the while helping to produce massive profits for their employers. Workers across our food supply chain have more than earned their seats at the table when it comes to their own workplace safety and food quality.”