The Michigan Civil Rights Commission recently unanimously passed five motions that aim to improve support for and protection of migrant and seasonal farmworkers employed in Michigan.
The panel heard updates on 15 recommendations made in 2010 by the Interagency Migrant Services Committee, approving a motion recognizing there has been “significant progress” on the suggestions, but also acknowledging barriers remain for seasonal farmworkers in Michigan.
Other issues addressed by the commission are:
“All five of these actions today send an important and significant message to migrant and seasonal farmworkers that they are valued and welcomed in Michigan,” said Dr. Agustin V. Arbulu, commission director. “The actions by the commission will help us continue to focus our work on protecting some of the most vulnerable people providing incredibly important work for our agricultural economy.”
According to the 2013 Enumeration Study, 49,135 migrant and seasonal farmworkers are employed in Michigan, working in field agriculture, nursery/greenhouse work, reforestation and food processing. Michigan ranks fifth in the nation for migrant and seasonal farmworkers registered with the state for employment purposes.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the operational arm of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. The department also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law. For more information on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to Michigan.gov/mdcr.