Jun 13, 2022
EFI supports Biden administration’s Guidance on Fair Recruitment Principles

Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), the workforce development and certification organization that partners with growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumer groups, supports the proposed new guidance on ethical recruitment from the Biden-Harris administration Collaborative Migration Management Strategy.

Photo: Equitable Food Initiative

The Guidance on Fair Recruitment Principles is part of the administration’s strategy to expand access to lawful pathways for migration and to better manage the H-2 visa program that provides essential labor for the agriculture industry.

The new guidance outlines key areas related to recruitment infrastructure and processes, including the protection of fundamental worker rights, contract transparency and the role of retailers and downstream supply chain actors in preventing abusive recruitment practices. The policy builds on existing Department of Labor regulations, as well as United Nations’ efforts to improve the recruitment process through the International Labour Organization’s Fair Recruitment Initiative and Guiding Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment.

“We welcome the Biden administration’s new guidance because it aligns well with EFI’s efforts to promote ethical recruitment and address the abuses that are still too common in the process,” Peter O’Driscoll, executive director for EFI, said in a news release. “We have made our Responsible Recruitment Scorecard available at no cost to any employer who wants to detect potential human trafficking in their labor supply chain.

“And through interviews with over 1,100 agricultural workers we published 10 Ways to Improve Recruitment of Guest Workers to help produce grower-shippers optimize the recruitment process and reduce the risks to workers so they can arrive at the farm gate as highly engaged and productive employees,” O’Driscoll said in the release. “Because the new Fair Recruitment Initiative Guidelines reinforce our established standards, EFI is glad to endorse them.”

The new guidance comes at a time when consumer demand for responsible supply chains is pushing companies to raise their own social, environmental and governance performance, and holding government officials accountable for immigration policy reforms.

“Just as the fresh produce industry adds value by building brands around their products, we must continue to de-commodify labor, recognizing the contributions each worker brings to creating sustainable businesses and healthy, safe produce,” Kenton Harmer, EFI managing director, said in the release. “This starts by getting every mile of the recruitment journey right. Unethical recruitment leaks value out of the system and creates untenable risks for workers and employers.

“EFI welcomes the efforts of the administration, the buying community and grower-shippers to identify, mitigate and remedy forced labor in agriculture,” Harmer said in the release. “Fresh produce should be known just as much for the ethical way it recruits and manages farmworkers as for its flavor and health benefits.”


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