United Fresh has joined with organizations representing a broad cross-section of agricultural employers today in the newly-formed Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC). As the unified voice of agriculture, the AWC’s goal is to seek legislation that ensures America’s farms, ranches and other agricultural operations have access to a stable and skilled workforce. United Fresh is committed to providing leadership through the AWC to represent the workforce priorities of the fresh produce industry.
“Having a stable and viable workforce has never been more critical for our nation’s fruit and vegetable industry, and we must continue to fervently educate lawmakers about agriculture’s crucial labor needs,” says Tom Stenzel, president & CEO of United Fresh. “At this critical time, the AWC brings together the nation’s leading agriculture organizations, delivering our messages with a strong, unified voice, to work with Congress for forging a landmark farm labor solution.”
The Coalition has developed principles that can provide a framework in meeting both the current and future employment needs of agriculture, including both those employers with seasonal labor needs and those who provide year-round employment opportunities. Further, the AWC proposes reform that includes both an agricultural worker program to provide access to a legal workforce into the future and an adjustment for current experienced unauthorized agricultural workers.
The coalition will work to ensure that agricultural labor needs are addressed in any immigration reform package considered by the 113th Congress. While the timing of such action is not yet clear, it is expected that Congress and the president will place a renewed emphasis in the coming weeks on immigration reform legislation.