Feb 1, 2008
North Carolina Growers' Association and Farm Labor Organizing Committee Sign Precedent Setting Collective Bargaining Extension for H2-A Guest Workers
The North Carolina Growers' Association (NCGA), the nation's largest user of the H2-A guest worker program, has reached an historical agreement with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), a labor union that represents farm workers. The agreement extends what is not only the first labor agreement involving agricultural guest workers, but is also the first transnational labor agreement in U.S. history.
As a result of this agreement, and under the representation of FLOC, NCGA’s workers will enjoy freedom of association (the right to join a union), as well as a grievance procedure that mandates resolution of any employment related dispute in a timely fashion. The grievance procedure is unique in that it covers any issues that may arise while the worker is being recruited in Mexico, as well as any that arise during their employment period in the United States. Grievances will be resolved by the Dunlop Agricultural Commission, a private labor relations board. Under the agreement, NCGA’s workers also receive the following benefits:
While virtually all other action regarding the current immigration crisis can be regarded as “just talk”, the North Carolina Growers’ Association and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee have taken real action. Their creative approach to labor relations not only increases the viability of the guest worker program for employers and employees, but increases it’s political viability as well, making it a possible key to the passage of meaningful immigration reform.