Heat Illness Prevention Event April 12 In Easton

Water, Rest and Shade for Heat Illness Prevention

News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh

On April 12, a coalition of agricultural organizations will hold two Heat Illness Prevention Sessions in Easton.

Manuel Cunha, Jr., President of Nisei Farmers League, said, “We appreciate the staff and the efforts of the Department of Industrial Relations, Cal/OSHA Consultation with their presentation of the safety message: WATER, REST, SHADE.”

Cunha continued, “the efforts by all our agricultural partners, as well as Cal/OSHA is to educate employers and supervisors about the dangers of working in the heat. We have held many educational sessions, sent out publications, had media events and continue to have ongoing outreach efforts throughout the state. Education is the key to reducing the number of heat illnesses that we see in our fields.”

Attend one of the sessions on April 12 for the latest documents outlining high heat procedures, including additional steps to be taken to ensure our employees’ safety.

Date: Friday, April 12, 2019

Time: Session One in Spanish 10:00 a.m. to noon. Session Two in English 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Place: C.P.D.E.S. Portuguese Hall, 172 W Jefferson Avenue, Easton.

There is no cost for attending these training sessions.

We want to thank our agricultural partners listed below: Nisei Farmers League, Fresno County Farm Bureau, Allied Grape Growers, California Fresh Fruit Association,  African America Farmers of Calif., American Pistachio Growers, California Apple Commission, California Blueberry Commission California Olive Growers Council and Sun-Maid Growers of California.

Nisei Farmers League Grateful for President Trump’s Executive Order on Water

Nisei Farmers League: It Was A Bold Move 

News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh

Manuel Cunha, Jr., President of the Nisei Farmers League thanked President Trump for his Executive Order last week, which will streamline federal regulations and improve water reliability.

“We want to thank President Trump, Congressman Devin Nunes, and the entire Valley delegation for their efforts that will improve the lives of many, especially in the San Joaquin Valley,” Cunha stated. 

There will be a strict timetable for rewriting the biological opinion that caused millions of acre-feet of water that would have been used in the San Joaquin Valley to be flushed out to the ocean. This action prioritizes building water storage projects that are badly needed.

This bold move is a welcome announcement to farmers, families, and communities throughout California who have suffered through many dry years and have been harmed by the Endangered Species Act, which reduced much-needed water supplies to restore fish populations.

“I would like to thank Mario Santoyo and the California Latino Water Coalition for leading the ‘March for Water’ in 2009 that started the ‘turn on the pump’ effort to bring additional surface water supplies to our Valley. It has taken 9 years to get to this point, but we never gave up,” Cunha said.

It is a good day for California, for our hard-working families, and for our communities.

HR 4760 Must be Opposed

Nisei Farmers League Opposes Congressman Goodlatte’s Bill H.R. 4760

By Manuel Cunha, President of Nisei Farmers League

Nisei Farmers League strongly opposes HR 4760, the bill known as “Securing America’s Future Act of 2018.”

This amended legislation does not deal with the most pressing issues we had with it.  The legislation should not alone deal with agriculture production, but the other industries as well, that are working in our country, our states, our cities, as well as our rural communities.

Those are the people and families we should be trying to help, versus penalizing the employers, penalizing the people that work and provide the taxes, the social security and contribute economically to their communities. Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the bill’s author, never worked with local communities and local elected officials, and did not receive input from organizations, such as ours.

The legislation does not adequately address the people and their families who are currently working here. Our workers are not criminals. They should not be involved in the touchback process and should not have wages withheld.

This bill has allotments for guest workers, but doesn’t adequately deal with DACA. Congressman Goodlatte is trying to appease the March 5th deadline on DACA with a half-hearted solution.

Until they sit down with the real people who deal with immigration every day, such as businesses, law enforcement, and churches, NO LEGISLATION LIKE THIS SHALL BE PASSED.

We will do everything in our power to STOP IT!!!!”

For comments and questions, call Manuel Cunha, Jr. at 559-251-8468.

See the Text of HR4760 at this link:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/4760

Congress Fails At Immigration Reform

Editor’s Note: This is an op-ed from Arnold Torres. Torres comments favorably on Manual Cunha’s recent op-ed regarding the failing US Congress on Immigration Reform.
You can see Cunha’s Opinion piece here: https://californiaagtoday.com/congress-fails-on-agricultural-workers/

Congressional Failure on Agriculture Requires Deliberate and Decisive Democracy

By Arnoldo Torres

Farmworkers in California agriculture have always been hard working and very productive. This has been the history of the Mexican farmworker since World War I and II, when they were brought in to compensate for the labor shortage. Regardless of immigration status, this undocumented workforce has contributed mightily (and beyond any dispute) to the phenomenal production and riches California agriculture has come to be known for throughout the world.

Arnoldo Torres

Manuel Cunha, Jr., the President of the Nisei Farmers League expressed, with eloquence, this reality of “our agricultural workers” in his letter to California Agriculture Today on December 15, 2017. He points out how these workers pay taxes, (state, federal income and sales), into the social security fund and serve as the “backbone” of the state’s $50 billion-dollar agriculture industry. He is also on target when he speaks of how Congress has failed agricultural workers not only in our state but throughout the nation.

Mr. Cunha’s should be joined by all in the agricultural industry of California. While we see signs throughout the Central Valley clamoring for more water and criticizing Governor Brown for his policy on water, we do not see any signs calling for immigration reform that recognize s the contributions of farmworkers. The agricultural industry needs to stand up and state the obvious — without water AND a qualified workforce, agriculture will crumble.

The failure of Congress on agricultural workers has been a constant for many decades now. This failure has already had serious and structural repercussions for California ag. Republicans and Democrats in Congress who represent the Valley – who are either married to Latinas, own dairies, are part of “chain migration” of Portuguese families operating businesses dependent on Mexican farm workers, who have several Mexicans as their “best friends,” represent districts with high concentration of Latinos, etc. – have been irresponsible.

The Majority Leader of the US House is from the Central Valley and others from this region are key members of the majority party. How is it that they have not been able to move any legislation on this MOST important issue? I firmly believe they have been reluctant to do what is necessary to move the needle forward on this issue.

These politicians have all made their convenient and annual statements of respecting the work ethic of farm workers and their economic contributions. All have spoken about the urgency and importance of resolving the status of DACA individuals but have not even made the serious and concrete attempt to include their parents and the adults who have been harvesting their businesses for decades and generations.

Democracy works best when the people take decisive and deliberate action. It is time that voters of the central valley take deliberate and decisive action and replace these incumbents regardless of party. Until they are held accountable in this manner farm workers, the ag economy and real people will suffer consequences that will not be able to be corrected anytime soon.

Arnoldo S. Torres of Torres2 Policy Consultants works on policy issues impacting the Latino community and has worked on the immigration issue for more than 30 years having testified on the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1985 extensively before both chambers of Congress. 

 

 

Congress Fails on Agricultural Workers

A Failing Congress

 Editor’s Note: This letter was submitted by Manuel Cunha Jr. He is President of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League.

Every day, thousands of people wake up before the sun rises, pack their lunches, and drive or carpool their way to work. Some toil underneath the hot sun, while others are inside feverishly packing perishable items to make sure they make their cross country or ocean voyage in time. Six days a week they repeat this routine and how are they rewarded? With the fear that they will not be able to continue this routine.

These are OUR agricultural workers. Who provide us with the safest food that we, our representatives in Washington D.C., and officials in the White House buy at our stores, farmer’s markets, and restaurants.

These workers have children, many born in the U.S., that they must figure out who is going to take them to and from school, practice for sports and other activities, or who is going to care for their child while they’re at work. The same thing that any U.S. citizen parent must figure out.

They pay taxes and Social Security deductions, the latter which they will receive no benefit from.

They are the backbone of an industry where, in California alone, farmers sold almost $50 billion worth of food in 2013. Yet, between 2002 and 2014, the number of field and crop workers in the state declined by about 85,000, leading to a drop in the number of entry-level workers available for difficult jobs like hoeing, harvesting, and planting. While technology is often touted as a cure for every economic ailment, when it comes to delivering California’s crops to the nation’s kitchen tables, there is no app for that. Instead, we need skilled farmworkers, along with smart land and water use, to maintain our agriculture rich history.

On October 2, 2017, Congressman Goodlatte introduced H.R. 4092, it provides a pathway for our undocumented agricultural workers to obtain an agricultural work visa (H-2C visa). It also provides for a system, instead of our broken H-2A program, to bring in more agricultural workers into the U.S. to make up for our shortfall. By October 25, 2017, the bill had been amended to the detriment of our current agricultural workers. There are many flaws with the legislation, especially the deduction of 10% from these worker’s wages which was to be put in a trust account. The purpose of this is to provide “a monetary incentive for H-2C workers to return to their country of origin upon expiration of their visas.” To receive the money that they already earned, they must apply and establish that they have complied with the terms and conditions of the H-2C program. They then have return to their home country to obtain the payment.

Did we not learn anything from the Bracero Program, implemented between 1942 to 1964, that also withheld 10% of the worker’s wages as an incentive to return to Mexico? They never received those wages, and the workers of the proposed legislation may have received the same fate.

The inability by Congress to provide legislation for our undocumented agricultural workers living in the U.S. and a workable guest worker program has led to more members in my industry clamoring for more H-2A workers. This is a betrayal to the hardworking men and women who work for them.

Some have been living and working here for over 25 years, hoping that Congress passes legislation similar to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 – the last time Congress passed meaningful immigration legislation for our undocumented agricultural workers. Instead of meaningful legislation, some want to give them pink slips. These are skilled, hardworking people that are vital members of our communities and some want to toss them aside. What will become of them, their children, our communities?

Not only has Congress failed to protect our undocumented agricultural workers, but they seek to punish them. Congressman Lamar Smith recently introduced H.R. 3711. The bill would make mandatory and permanent requirements relating to use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system, more commonly known as E-Verify. It is a federal program that allows businesses to check a new employee’s immigration status within a matter of seconds. It will replace the current system, where the new employee fills out Form I-9 and present documents that they are eligible to work along with an identity document. The employer must take the documents at face value.

This would decimate our agricultural workforce, along with the hospitality industry, and in California, the building industry. It won’t just effect businesses, but more importantly, it will hurt families. Families that go to our schools and churches.

It is time for Congress and for all the members in my industry to get behind some of the hardest working members in our society and provide them with legal status. These are the people who make America great!

Sincerely,

Manuel Cunha, Jr., President, Nisei Farmers League

1775 N. Fine Avenue, Fresno, CA 93727

559-287-5610 cell

559-251-8468

Nisei Farmers League and African American Farmers of Calif in Sacramento TODAY to Oppose AB 1066

Nisei Farmers League and African American Farmers of California Discuss Disastrous AB 1066 in Sacramento Today

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: SEE TEDX TALK VIDEO BELOW OF WILL SCOTT, JR., PRESIDENT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN FARMERS OF CALIFORNIA.

 

TODAY, Manuel Cunha Jr., president of the Nisei Farmers League and Will Scott, Jr., president of the African American Farmers of California are meeting in Sacramento with members of the California Assembly to explain the disastrous consequences of AB 1066, referred to as Agricultural workers: wages, hours, and working conditions, on small and minority farmers.

African American Farmers of California logo

 

The effects of this legislation, particularly the Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016,  will be detrimental not only to the farmworker who counts on the extra hours, but to the farmer who, with the increasing costs of regulations and the lack of water, will be forced to cut back on crops and their workforce, according to their joint press release.

 

Manuel Cunha, Jr.
Manuel Cunha, Jr., president, Nisei Farmers League

“The small and minority farmer will be adversely affected by this ill-conceived legislation,” said Manuel Cunha Jr. “The small farmer works hand in hand with their workforce in the fields and [is] in a better position —with direct input from the workers—to determine schedules rather than politicians in Sacramento looking for a soundbite,” he explained. “Without meeting with our small and minority farmers and farmworkers, these politicians pass legislation that will cost our workforce money, our farmers crops, and the residents of California the fresh fruits and vegetables they enjoy everyday.”

 

Both Manuel Cunha Jr. and Will Scott believe the Legislators need to consider the small and minority farmers when casting their votes. “We are confident that after we meet with the Assembly members,” said Will Scott, Jr., they will understand how harmful this legislation is to our farmers and farmworkers. It is our hope that by educating the members, they will understand the importance of this bill and vote No on AB 1066.”


Nisei Farmers League

The League continues to inform grower members about ever changing regulations and policies providing legal assistance for labor and workplace related issues. Our leadership and staff maintains a close working relationship with local, state and federal agencies and legislators to assure grower interests are adequately understood and defended.

The NFL also collaborates with other grower and agricultural organizations in both California and other states to help provide a powerful, unified voice for the agricultural commNisei Farmers League logounity.

Grower members are kept informed through meetings, seminars, newsletters and special bulletins.

Strength, clear focus and growers looking out for growers and farm workers… that is what the Nisei Farmers League is all about.

African American Farmers of California

 

The Fresno-based African American Farmers of California organization has doubled its membership since it opened a 16-acre demonstration farm in Fresno County, which serves as a testing area where new farmers can get hands-on experience growing a variety of produce.

View Will Scott, Jr. present a TEDx Fruitvale Talk (Uploaded on Oct 20, 2011) Here.

 

One of Scott Family Farms primary goals is to reintroduce Southern specialty crops, part of the traditional African American diet, into black communities, to help stop the obesity and diabetes epidemics. Crops include: black-eyed peas, crowder peas, purple hull peas, field peas, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard, corn, tomatoes, okra and sweet potatoes.

Supreme Court Ruling on Immigration

Manuel Cunha Jr. Fires Off Letter RE:  Supreme Court Ruling on Immigration 

The following is a letter that Manuel Cunha, president of the Nisei Farmers League sent out about the Supreme Court ruling on immigration TODAY:

“As the president of the Nisei Farmers League, board member of the National Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C., chair of the Insure America Project, and as a farmer myself, I am deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court ruling that was announced TODAY. Their ruling provided no guidance nor direction to this Congress and ignored the safety of those affected by the ruling.

The 4-4 deadlock leaves in place an appeals court ruling blocking President Obama’s immigration plan. His plan would have allowed parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents to apply for a program that would spare them from deportation and provide them with work permits.

Dignity, integrity and justice is what this country believes in and has made this country great. This country was built and strengthened by immigrants. Many of us today realize it was our parents and ancestors from other countries that brought us here. However, there are those that have forgotten, many of which are currently members of Congress.

This decision does not move us closer to immigration reform, but allows Congress to repeatedly refuse to support bipartisan legislation to update immigration laws. Congress continues to not deal with Immigration, but rather deal with their own party politics.

Millions of families will remain in limbo, and our system remains broken. The attention now turns to Senate and House Republicans to provide leadership on this issue. What is their solution to our broken immigration system? This escalates many of the problems that currently exist. Drug and human trafficking will continue, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids will not go away. Millions of immigrants living in the shadows is not the answer. Deportation of the people that clothe and feed us is shameful and not the answer.DACA Dreamers logo_2016

We must remember that the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” DACA (Dreamers), is untouched. We need to focus on providing alternatives to the children who were brought here and have grown up here as Americans and identify themselves as Americans. The DACA program is still in play and we need to encourage those that are eligible to apply.”