The executive order is timely and necessary to protect the
occupants at these housing sites, all agricultural workers in
the state, and the general public. In Michigan annually, there
are over 40,000 farmworkers and their family members who live
and work in our communities. About half of those farmworkers
will live in employer-provided housing, often near their
worksites in remote or rural parts of the state. Currently,
there are approximately 840 migrant housing sites that will be
occupied with over 26,000 individuals during the peak growing
season (April through September). The order ensures the most
vulnerable farmworkers are protected from COVID-19 and not
overlooked or forgotten during this unprecedented pandemic.
Through her executive order, Governor Whitmer has made it clear
that Michigan will do better for our farmworker population and
will take into account their particular vulnerabilities while
living at employer-provided housing sites in Michigan. The order
took effect on June 1, 2020 and will be in place until June 29,
2020, or until further notice. The Michigan Immigrant Rights
Center (MIRC) hopes the order will be extended to ensure
farmworkers coming to Michigan after June 29th are also
MIRC supports the Governor’s actions and urges those who care about
the health and safety of agricultural workers in Michigan to
help share news about the Executive Order and its importance.
Farmworker health and safety is a public health concern that we
should all care about and centering the needs of farmworkers
will ensure the stability of Michigan’s food supply.
Many farmworkers travel long distances to work in Michigan
harvesting, packing, and processing our fruits and vegetables
and they are dependent on their employer for both work and
housing. The work they do is often dangerous and always
physically and mentally demanding. Yet, the men, women, and
children, who harvest, pack and process our fruits and
vegetables, have been left out of employment protections other
workers enjoy. The exclusion of farmworkers from basic
employment protections is rooted in the historical legacy of
slavery in the agricultural sector and our country’s racial
history. To this day, farmworkers are not entitled to overtime
pay and are also not entitled to protection from retaliation if
they come together to better their work or housing conditions.
Farmworkers who have questions about how Executive Order 2020-111
might affect them, are encouraged to call MIRC’s free
confidential worker hotline at 800-968-4046.
Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) is
a legal resource center for Michigan's immigrant communities.
MIRC works to build a thriving Michigan where immigrant
communities experience equity and belonging. The Michigan
Immigrant Rights Center is a program of Michigan
Statewide Advocacy Services (MSAS) and Michigan
Advocacy Program (MAP).