Michigan Department of Civil Rights Statement on Migrant/Seasonal Farmworker Wages

Contact: Jacki Miller 313-456-4694
Agency: Civil Rights

“With the shortage of migrant farmworkers this past growing season, I am very concerned with the Attorney General’s Opinion concluding that Michigan’s minimum wage does not apply to certain small farm operations or their employees, reversing long-standing policy,” said Agustin Arbulu, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

“We call on the Wage & Hour Division to adopt a mechanism like a hotline where farmworkers can call to report any farms not paying the minimum wage to farmworkers and having the Wage & Hour Division investigate and determine if a farm meets the requirements of a ‘small farm.’ Farmworkers need the support of the Wage & Hour Division to ensure that the laws are being enforced.

Michigan has long been considered a welcoming state and an attractive place to live. Allowing some farms to pay less than the minimum wage not only harms those farmworkers, but also creates a negative impact on Michigan’s rural economy. Being proactive is one way to protect vulnerable farmworkers who can be subjected to abuse.”