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El Comercio de Colorado

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Sheep shepherds will get a raise

Sheep shepherds will get a raise

Sheep shepherds will get a raise
November 24
12:30 2015

Newsroom/El Comercio de Colorado

Sheep shepherds in at least 9 Western states will have a new minimum wage. The increase took place on November 16th of this year. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), these agricultural workers will earn $1,206 per month, which represents an increase of 60% compared to the salary they received for many years. The new salary was calculated based on the $7.25/hour federal minimum wage.

DOL indicated in a press release that “the nature of these jobs, the continuous availability 24/7 in remote places and the lack of American workers, complicated the establishment of an adequate minimum wage, and the salaries stagnated for 20 years.” The biggest beneficiaries for this new minimum wage are about 1,600 guest workers who come under a H2-A non-immigrant visa.

Pyrrhic victory

Nina di Salvo, Executive Director of “Towards Justice” believes that the shepherds are still amongst the worst paid workers in the country. “The Department of Labor must answer as to why there is a different treatment for these guest workers. The new minimum is higher than what the previous rules established; but this increase only shows how absurd the previous minimum was, and it doesn’t mean the new one is adequate,” said Di Salvo.

“The system to calculate the salary is willful, arbitrary and illegal,” said the attorney. Di Salvo explains that shepherds work much more than 48 hours per week. “They live in remote places, work at all times. They don’t have good conditions of safety or health,” she said. She also added, “Authorities only gave them 80 per cent of the salary they should receive, assuming they only worked 48 hours.”


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Edición Virtual | #334 | 14 de Marzo 2019

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