FACTS AND FIGURES ON FARMWORKERS AND THE AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY
Farmworker Poverty and Agriculture Industry Economics:
1) The latest report by the U.S. Department of Labor to Congress, entitled "The Agricultural Labor Market - Status and Recommendations" (Dated 12/00, mailed to members of Congress on 1/3/01) contains some hard truths for the agricultural industry. Some highlights:
The full report is not available on-line, but you can contact us for a copy. It contains a great deal of excellent information.
According to the same 12/00 USDOL report: "The NAWS paints a very grim picture of the conditions under which farm workers live and work. low wages, sub-poverty annual earnings, significant periods of un-and underemployment, and low utilization of safety net programs all add up to a labor force in significant economic distress."
Each year since its inception, NAWS has interviewed approximately 2,500 randomly selected agricultural workers across the United States. The sampling procedure respects seasonal and regional fluctuations in the level of agricultural work activity. A sample of 288 counties in 25 states was selected to represent 12 distinct agricultural regions. Some highlights:
3) Information on piece rates for tomato picking -- As a result of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' campaign, piece rates have gone up to 45 - 50 cents per bucket. However, this is still far short of a living wage, and even far short of he value this work had 2 decades ago. In order to keep pace with inflation since 1980, the piece rate today would have to be 73.5 cents. Click here for full graph.
Further, because the piece rate has stayed stagnant for so long, a worker has to pick more buckets just to earn the minimum wage. Whereas a worker had to pick 7.75 buckets per hour to earn the minimum wage, by 1997 they had to pick almost 13 buckets in the same amount of time. Click here for the full graph.
National Statistics on Wealth and Poverty:
2.) University of the Poor, Statistics and Research Department -- This is the web site of the University of the Poor, which is the educational arm of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign. This page keeps up to date statistics on Wealth and Poverty, Hopelessness, Hunger, Health Care, Income, and Welfare Reform. For more information, click here.