Statement on Signing the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act

January 14, 1983

I have today signed H.R. 7102, a bill which reforms the protections afforded farmworkers under Federal law. This legislation repeals the Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act and enacts in its place the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

This new act is the result of a cooperative effort among the Department of Labor, major agricultural employer organizations (including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Food Processors Association, the National Cotton Council of America, and the National Council of Agricultural Employers), the AFL - CIO, and the Migrant Legal Action Program. It passed the Congress with strong bipartisan support.

I want to congratulate all parties to this consensus legislation. Their efforts in developing the legislation will result in substantially improved protection for migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, many of whom are disadvantaged minorities.

Their efforts will also result in the elimination of unnecessary regulatory burdens that had been placed on agricultural employers and associations under the old law, and which had resulted in continuous litigation to resolve issues not clearly spelled out in that statute. At the same time, the old law did not clearly define the responsibilities and obligations of agricultural employers to assure that migrant and seasonal agricultural workers received important transportation, housing, and employment protections. I believe the new law will correct these problems and will result in improved protection of working and living conditions for tens of thousands of our nation's agricultural workers.

We will continue our efforts to both reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens and, at the same time, protect essential employment standards in America's workplaces.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 7102 is Public Law 97 - 470, approved January 14.