Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s farmworker team has launched a summer educational campaign aimed at informing Texas migrant farmworkers of their legal rights before they leave the state for seasonal work.
The Know-Your-Rights campaign educates farmworkers on their legal rights and how to protect themselves if they think their rights are being violated. The campaign includes outreach to border media outlets, a series of Know-Your-Rights presentations in border communities, and the distribution of a new Know-Your-Rights booklet.
According to Daniela Dwyer, manager of TRLA’s farmworker team, “Many migrant workers don’t know that they have legal rights when they are working in other states for the season. Our goal is to give them the tools they need to protect themselves when they are away from home.”
Every year TRLA helps migrant farmworkers and their families who return home with complaints about their seasonal employers. Common complaints include wage theft, being forced to work in unsafe conditions, and being physically assaulted or held against their will. Many workers also suffer retaliation from their employers when they try to enforce their rights.
To address some of these issues, TRLA’s new farmworker Know-Your-Rights booklet features helpful information and worksheets, in both English and Spanish, for workers to keep track of the conditions of their employment, including hours worked and rate of pay. The booklet is the result of collaboration with University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) professor Anne Giangiulio who challenged her current students to take the material prepared by TRLA attorneys and develop a design that was both functional and attractive. Jonathon Duarte, a current graphic design student at UTEP, produced the final design.
“Because of the collaboration between TRLA and UTEP, Texas migrant workers will have an effective and useful tool to remind them of their legal rights and help them document their work,” added Dwyer.
A copy of the booklet can be downloaded online from Texas Law Help.