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How Will Florida Farmworkers Fare Under The Biden Administration?

Tom Vilsack served as secretary of agriculture during the Obama Administration, and has been a trusted advisor to President-elect Biden.
Tom Vilsack served as secretary of agriculture during the Obama Administration, and has been a trusted advisor to President-elect Biden.

On the campaign trail, Joe Biden proposed giving farmworkers overtime and sick-pay. Many workers come from Mexico and Central America on visas. The president-elect would allow these workers to earn legal status to remain in the U.S.

From Biden's campaign website:

Gerardo Reyes Chavez is with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which represents about 30,000 farmworkers in Florida. He says farm labor is just as important as doctors or first responders.

“We should be treated as essential workers fully...because that is only fair. If we feed the nation, we also need to be able to have that kind of backup," he said.

“Nine out of ten tomatoes that people consume in northern states, especially now in the winter, come from us. That alone should be enough reason to make sure that this community is not risking more than what they have to.”

Biden has picked Tom Vilsack to be his Secretary of Agriculture, a role Vilsack previously held in the Obama administration.

While he worked to improve working conditions on farms, critics accused Vilsack of being too close to large agribusiness companies.

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Bradley George comes to WUSF from Atlanta, where he was a reporter, host, and editor at Georgia Public Broadcasting. While in Atlanta, he reported for NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and The Takeaway. His work has been recognized by PRNDI, the Georgia Associated Press, and the Atlanta Press Club. Prior to his time in Georgia, Bradley worked at public radio stations in Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina.