GFVGA Hosts Agricultural Labor Relations Forum
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Legislation and labor were the focus at the 2018 Georgia Agricultural Labor Relations Forum.
The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association hosted nearly 100 attendees at the third annual event in Tifton November 13-14.
“The Agricultural Labor Relations Forum was a tremendous success this year. The knowledge we gained from the forum helps us understand both the benefits and shortcomings of agricultural labor regulations and be better advocates for our members,” said Georgia Farm Bureau Agricultural Programs Specialist Raynor Churchwell. “The speakers and information were extremely beneficial, and we appreciate being able to partner with GFVGA to help educate producers.”
Eleven expert speakers presented on topics including the political climate’s relationship to ag labor, ag transportation, working with local law enforcement and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.
The H-2A temporary agricultural workers program was a major focus of the forum. Dan Bremer (AgWorks) reminded the group, “You have to adapt to H-2A, because H-2A will not adapt to you.”
Mike Rios of the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour division led a session on preparing for a Wage and Labor audit. He detailed best practices for labor logs, pay stubs, housing, transportation and other components of guest worker programs. Rios answered many specific questions from growers on avoiding fines and citations.
Attendees left the forum with a binder full of resources and a better understanding of available labor options.
"From an HR standpoint, it was extremely valuable to have all the different agencies present and hear their feedback,” said Laura McDonald, Human Resources Manager for White Oak Pastures in Bluffton. “I learned a ton about the (H2A) program and have a better overall understanding of the requisites involved in migrant labor and what we can expect to see with new programs in the future."
More information on ag labor will be presented at the 2019 SE Regional Conference during the Saturday Business Operations sessions.