A victory for farm workers is a victory for all

by Bill Jordan
January 3, 2012

At a time when workers’ rights and even child labor laws are under attack, it is encouraging to see a significant and hard-won victory for farm workers in New Mexico. Just before the holidays, Second District Judge Valerie Huling ruled that farm and ranch workers in New Mexico are entitled to be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty brought the lawsuit on behalf of workers who were injured on the job. At question was the constitutionality of a state law that denies workers’ compensation benefits to farm and ranch workers. New Mexico Voices for Children had long supported amending the law to allow them to get coverage, but legislation to do so repeatedly failed in the Legislature.

Congratulations and gratitude goes out to our friends at the Center on Law and Poverty for representing the workers and winning the case. Our thanks also go out to the injured workers who were courageous enough to bring the lawsuit on behalf of the 10,000 agricultural workers who will now benefit directly from workers’ compensation benefits. It’s a good time to remember that when more of us are protected, all of us benefit from a safer and more just society.

Bill Jordan is NM Voices’ Policy Director

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