Farmworkers today are being mistreated and exploited for work without fair conditions.Immigrant farmworkers come to America with hope of a better life with their family, but come short when they can’t find jobs. They resort to farm work to make some money. Today farmworkers are paid below minimum wage and suffer increased risk of mental health issues due to problems such as unsanitary conditions, living in poverty, and harassment, on a daily basis.
Consumers can help them by supporting bills that give farmworkers more rights or breaks, and by boycotting products that weren’t grown ethically. Due to the fact that farmworkers are paid below minimum wage and suffer from mental health issues, many people are treated below human. Even though these workers pick food for a living, they can’t afford to feed their families, “The hired personnel contribute to less than 1% of the wages of all US salary and wage workers, but are essential to the success of US agriculture. As such, migrant and seasonal farmworkers continue to be an economically disadvantaged group in the US” ( Chaney and Torres). Agriculture in the US is one of the most vital industries in every state producing billions of dollars. Farmworkers are at the very center of this harvesting many of the crops, yet they are being paid below minimum wage. Children of farmworkers are also likely to do farmwork for some extra money. They skip school and end up uneducated which means they are unlikely to find a better job in the future.
This causes a cycle of poverty that very few escape. Being in poverty also contributes to mental problems, “Couple this with the many noted difficulties of farmworker life (i.e., living below poverty, unsanitary living and work environments, physical isolation from family and mainstream life, limited access to healthcare), and the result places farmworkers at increased risk for moderate to high levels of stress and depression” (Chaney and Torres).
Being a farmworker automatically puts people at a higher chance of being depressed and stressed. Depression in people can weaken the immune system which makes it easier to get sick. Being sick as a farmworker is devastating because they will make no money. Higher stress and depression also increases chances of heart attacks. With every problem farmworkers face, consumers can help by boycotting brands that don’t grow food ethically and support rights that will improve conditions for farmworkers.
Protesting and boycotting certain brands has helped, “The protest resulted in an increase in wages and led to the passage of the 1975 California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, recognizing the right to unionize” (Bell). Ethically grown foods are food that treated the farmworkers correctly and paid them correctly. Boycotting these brands that don’t do this is a easy way to help. Many consumers are willing to buy ethically grown food at a higher price too. Protesting can also raise awareness of the situation farmworkers are in. Farmworkers have to deal with harassment on a daily basis, “There are rampant violations of farm workers rights in agriculture” (McMillan). They have to deal with low pay, long hours in harsh weather, no breaks, and unsanitary bathrooms.
Some don’t have bathrooms which forces them to defecate in the plants spreading disease through the food. Any animal or human can contract sickness if the farmworkers were sick and farmworkers don’t get healthcare either. Farmworkers are not protected by any systems because they are undocumented. Since America is currently trying to remove illegal immigrants, farmworkers won’t report abuse. Farmworkers are the heart of agriculture and agriculture is the backbone of America. Without agriculture America would have failed and without these people harvesting our crops the country would’ve failed. Even though these people endure hard hours day after day, we treat them less than human.
They are given poor living conditions and we look the other way. These people have helped this country and our country should be helping them.