Western Growers members provide half the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables including a third of America’s fresh organic produce.
For interviews, contact:        
Wendy Fink-Weber,
Communications Director
(949) 885-2256

Stephanie A. Wilken,
Communications Manager
(949) 885-2257

April 17, 2013

Western Growers and Ag Partners Welcome Introduction of Immigration Reform Legislation

Washington, D.C. (April 17, 2013) -- Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif joined his colleagues in the Agriculture Workforce Coalition Wednesday along with UFW President Arturo Rodriguez for a press conference announcing unprecedented legislation that will help American farmers get and retain a stable, legal workforce. The AWC hosted the press conference in Washington, D.C. Wednesday afternoon at the National Press Club. "Today represents an historic achievement for all the groups represented here this afternoon," Nassif said. "Both the partners in the Ag Workforce Coalition and the United Farmworkers Union care deeply about resolving the immigration crisis facing our country. The agreement our groups came to is a crucial step in solving this crisis and securing a stable and legal workforce for agriculture for years to come."
The agriculture component in the legislation introduced by the Senate Gang of Eight is the product of many months of negotiations within the agriculture community and with worker representatives. The force of agricultural producers and worker representatives working together now in support of this legislation will play a significant role in achieving immigration reform this year."
Senators Feinstein, Rubio, Bennet, and Hatch played critical roles in getting us to this day and we express our appreciation to them. Throughout this process, we have worked through many important and difficult issues, including wage rates for future workers, legalization for our existing workforce, worker protections, and caps on a future visa program. Each side had to make compromises and while this agreement doesn’t do everything each of us wants, each side has come away with an agreement that we can support and that goes a long way in addressing our many concerns. We look forward to working together to support this agreement throughout the legislative process."

About the Agriculture Workforce Coalition:
The Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) brings together organizations representing the diverse needs of agricultural employers across the country. AWC serves as the unified voice of agriculture in the effort to ensure that America’s farmers, ranchers and growers have access to a stable and secure workforce.
To help achieve this goal, the AWC has developed a framework that presents a viable solution to agriculture’s labor needs. The proposal includes both an earned adjustment in status for current agricultural employees who presently lack legal status and a program to ensure an adequate farm workforce in the future. Also, unlike current programs such as H-2A, the AWC proposal is meant to ensure that all types of producers—including both those with seasonal labor needs and ones with year-round labor needs—have access to the workforce they need to remain productive and competitive.
To learn more about AWC, visit our web site at www.agworkforcecoalition.org.

About Western Growers:
Since 1926, we have represented local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona and California. Our members provide half the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables including a third of America’s fresh organic produce. Some also farm throughout the U.S. and in other countries so people have year-round access to nutritious food. For generations we have provided variety and healthy choices as the first line of defense against obesity and disease. We grow the best medicine in the world.™

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