Trump Must Nix Big Agriculture’s Bid to Use Coronavirus to Slash Farm Wages

As the country came to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration asked the working people of America to comply with containment measures. For some 20 million Americans, that came at the cost of their jobs.

But for some workers, Team Trump could add post-crisis misery to their current pains.

Over the weekend, NPR reported that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is pushing the White House for big changes to the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, or AEWR, “to reduce wage rates for foreign guest workers on American farms.” But that’s not the full story. These changes will affect the wages of many American citizens as well.

The AEWR is the minimum wage determined by the US Department of Labor that “must be offered and paid to US and guest workers by agricultural employers of nonimmigrant H-2A visa agricultural workers.” It is adjusted yearly and differs state by state, but the primary function of the AEWR is to prevent farmers using the H-2A program from paying US and guest workers wages below the established rates in the surrounding area.

Read the rest in the New York Post.

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About Pedro Gonzalez

Pedro Gonzalez is associate editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture and an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He publishes the weekly Contra newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @emeriticus.

Photo: Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

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