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Attorney General Nessel Joins a Multistate Comment Letter in Support of Agricultural Workers
November 16, 2023
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced the filing of a multistate comment letter including a coalition of 11 attorneys general in support of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regarding changes to the H-2A program. The H-2A program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform temporary agricultural work. The proposed regulations would strengthen both worker protection measures for H-2A agricultural workers and the DOL’s capability to monitor compliance and take enforcement actions.
"The proposed rule changes to the H2-A program would bring protections to vulnerable members of the workforce and greater accountability to those responsible for their working conditions,” said Nessel. “Michigan’s workforce is bolstered seasonally by thousands of agricultural H2-A program workers. I stand with my colleagues in advocating for their broader protection and enhanced monitoring of the federal program.”
The H-2A program experiences high rates of workplace violations and worker exploitation. The Proposed Rule is intended to address concerns regarding DOL’s ability to enforce regulations related to foreign labor recruitment, to improve accountability for employers and their successors-in-interest to ensure compliance with the law and regulatory requirements, and to enhance worker protections for a marginalized workforce.
The comment letter highlights three specific areas that promote access to information and accountability:
- Broader protections for workers’ efforts to form and join labor organizations;
- Protection from arbitrary or retaliatory termination; and
- Transparency regarding foreign recruiters.
In filing the multistate comment letter, Attorney General Nessel is joined by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.