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The plight of the california farm worker: nothing has changed much

In spite of the changes in our society to improve the conditions for agricultural workers through immigration legislation, control of pesticides, and union pressure for social justice, there is evidence to suggest that fundamental problems still exist for those who work in the fields. There are still crops that need human labor to harvest them. The farm workers are still being exploited with low pay along with hazardous and oppressive work conditions to provide us with the fruits and vegetables that we demand. The employers claim that their reliance on immigrant labor is because they cannot hire enough domestic or legal labor to do the work. Further, they argue that domestic workers do not want to accept this kind of work. This article discusses only two examples of how the conditions of the California farm workers have not changed much. Curtailing the employment of unauthorized or illegal workers in agriculture may alleviate many of the problems but enforcement of the immigration laws, California Department of Pesticide Regulations, and California farm labor laws, need more attention if there is ever going to be fundamental improvement in the agricultural workers’ wages and conditions of employment.

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