People should be able to earn a living without putting their health and safety at risk. If they are injured at work, their employers should be accountable.
Workers’ compensation laws require employers to have insurance to cover job-related injuries or illnesses; however, for decades New Mexico’s agricultural workers were excluded from these protections. In 2016, NMCLP represented workers who won a landmark court decision that found their exclusion from workers’ compensation was discriminatory and violated the state constitution. We work with community partners to ensure agricultural employees can exercise their right to receive workers’ compensation and continue to monitor remaining barriers.
Agricultural work is especially hazardous. Yet, farm workers face significant obstacles getting the health and safety protections guaranteed by law. Agricultural employers often do not provide adequate shade, sufficient bathroom breaks, training on hazardous pesticides, adequate tools, and other legally mandated measures that protect workers from injury. During the Covid-19 pandemic, farm workers reported their employers failed to provide minimal health and safety protections to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including face masks and minimal social distancing requirements.
As a founding member of the New Mexico Coalition of Agricultural Workers and Advocates (NM CAWA), NMCLP works with community organizations to advocate for and provide resources to New Mexico farm workers and their families including:
- Advocating for state mandated health and safety protections;
- Hosting Covid-19 testing and vaccination events;
- Distributing clothes, masks, sweaters, and other necessary items for farmworkers;
- Holding online Know Your Rights events for farmworkers.