Report Says Many New Mexico Farmworkers Are Treated Poorly

Jul 1, 2013

Albuquerque, NM – The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty announced the release of their report on an investigation into the living and working conditions of New Mexico’s farmworkers. The survey found that, “New Mexico’s agricultural workers labor in some of the most difficult, dangerous and abusive working conditions of all workers. They are paid devastatingly low wages, perform backbreaking work and toil in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.”

The report asserts that farmworkers “are often victims of wage theft and are retaliated against when they try to assert their rights. Additionally, there are very few laws that protect them and many that specifically exclude them from protections. This report summarizes the results of a 2012 survey of New Mexican agricultural workers and shines light on the abusive working conditions these workers labor under, in hope that we as a state call for just treatment of the people who feed us.”

Legal Director of the NM Center on Law and Poverty Gail Evans, states, “New Mexico’s farm and dairy workers are even poorer and more downtrodden than agricultural workers nationwide.  Our agricultural industry today – especially our dairies - are pulling in large amounts of money but their workers are uninsured, have little access to health care, and often are not paid enough to support themselves, let alone their families.”

Lead attorney on the investigation, Maria Martinez Sanchez, states, “It is shocking to discover how rampant wage theft is in New Mexico’s fields. We cannot be proud of our chile now that we know that almost all of the field workers have had their wages stolen in the past year.”

Find a copy of the report here: