Media Contact

Christina Nguyen, Communications & Storytelling Director

March 3, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. — The ACLU of Oregon issued the following statements from Policy Director Jessica Maravilla and Executive Director Sandy Chung today, in response to the Oregon Legislature’s passage of House Bill 4002. HB 4002 creates basic overtime protections for agricultural workers in Oregon, similar to overtime protections that have covered most workers in the U.S. since the 1930’s, while supporting farm operators with the transitional costs resulting from this law.

Jessica Maravilla, Policy Director of ACLU of Oregon: “With HB 4002, the Oregon Legislature did right by our state’s agricultural workers while also supporting farm operators with the transitional costs of providing overtime pay. 

In 2020, Oregon farmworkers made, on average, less than $20,000 a year. Their hard work supports Oregon’s $5 billion dollar agricultural market and puts food on our tables. They deserve to be paid for every hour of their essential, difficult, and often dangerous work. 

Not only does this bill advance economic justice, but it also advances racial justice and civil rights because Latinx workers make up a disproportionate part of the agricultural worker community in Oregon. 

This was a multi year collaboration with many organizations, elected and community leaders, and people who fought for farmworkers. The ACLU of Oregon is especially grateful to the farmworkers and their families who shared their stories and educated us about their lives and work.”

Sandy Chung, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon: “As far back as the 1930s, the ACLU recognized that economic justice is essential to achieving racial justice. When the federal government adopted overtime protections for most workers through the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) of 1938, this law excluded agricultural workers from overtime protections because that was a field predominantly occupied by Black workers then.

The racism baked into the FLSA continued to cause harm with disproportionate racial impacts today on Latino/a/x workers who predominate Oregon’s $5 billion dollar agricultural market. Farmworkers are frontline essential workers who helped put food on our tables by working through the COVID-19 pandemic, catastrophic fires and hazardous air quality levels, and increasingly worrisome heatwaves and climate storms.

For our state to live up to its values of equity, we have to fight for the civil liberties and civil rights of all people. The ACLU of Oregon is thankful that our state’s lawmakers took the historic step of ending the racist harms of FLSA’s exclusion of farmworkers from overtime protections.”

About ACLU Oregon:
The ACLU of Oregon is an affiliate of the national ACLU which has affiliates in 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The ACLU of Oregon is a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization with more than 28,000 members statewide. The organization works in the courts, in the state legislature and local governments, and in communities to defend and advance our civil liberties and civil rights under the U.S. and Oregon constitutions and the laws of the United States and Oregon.

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