Michigan Farm Bureau should continue to inform the public about agricultural employment and the economic contributions farm labor makes to the local and state economies, and correct widespread misconceptions about farm labor conditions.
Michigan does not have a labor relations law for farm workers and they are using basic contract law as the basis for achieving successful labor agreements.
The lack of an agricultural labor relations law allows for consumer and secondary boycotts of perishable farm commodities. We are not opposed to removing the agricultural labor exemption from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and prefer this action over enactment of a state agricultural labor relations act. While we are opposed to a separate agricultural labor relations board, we believe a separate counsel and staff, cognizant and understanding of the challenges of agriculture, should be designated if the agriculture exemption to the NLRA is stricken.
Any state legislation must protect the rights of the workers, farmers and consumers against the loss of crops during labor disputes. Such legislation should:
The family farm exemption in the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act is being eroded by the expansion of the terms “recruitment” and “transportation.” We oppose the inclusion of gratuitous referrals and transportation in the course of employment when the vehicle is not driven by a family member, in the determination of whether the family farm exemption applies.
The North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), sector 11 should be the standardized definition for agriculture and farm work for all state labor legislation.
MFB should continue participating in recruiting efforts to ensure an adequate and legal agricultural work force in Michigan. Recruiting methods and programs currently being used should be evaluated for effectiveness. Efforts should be ongoing to more effectively encourage workers to come to Michigan.
The State Workforce Agency should only refer legally authorized workers to all employers.