Where in America is it legal to pay workers less than minimum wage? In states like Maine, farmworkers can be fired for unionizing and are forced to work for a subminimum wage with no overtime pay. The workers that travel 4,000 miles to Maine could lose their migrant farmworker housing if they speak up.
State Rep. Thom Harnett wants to change that. He introduced a bill allowing farm workers to unionize and discuss working conditions. It passed the House and Senate and was sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. But Governor Janet Mill vetoed the bill, completely disregarding the working class in her veto statement.
“The reality in Maine, and in most states in the country, is that if farmworkers talk to one another and bring those concerns to their employer they can be fired. And that firing is totally legal,” says Harnett.
Migrant workers and their advocates haven’t given up. They continue their fight in the next legislative session.