Letter Signed by President Jeff Carlton:

Letter Signed by President Jeff Carlton:

Act Now on Employee Housing!

Help us mobilize against AB 1783. Carried by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas), this UFW-sponsored bill claims to “help” farmers build more affordable housing in California, but what it really does is:

Applies CA’s litigation-prone and stifling landlord-tenant requirements to ag employer-provided housing. This would mean that all rights and privileges afforded to tenants under rental or lease agreements could be utilized by farm employees when residing in employee-provided housing. In one example, under this bill, a recently terminated employee residing in employer housing would be eligible to occupy that housing for up to 30 days following termination of employment. This could be incredibly disruptive, result in litigation for eviction as a retaliatory action, and leave that housing unavailable for that employee’s replacement! Not to mention, it would make ag employers the only employers subject to this new obligation.

Restricts any state funds from being used to construct housing for the workers enrolled in the H-2A non-immigrant visa program. This would include all state funds collected from taxpayers intended specifically for the construction of farm employee housing. As the number of H-2A workers continue to rise amidst labor shortages, this will hamstring the construction of new residences and perpetrates an unfounded bias against those who use the program.

Offers a false incentive for a streamlined approval process for farmworker housing construction, but only for farmers who pay for it, build it, and turn over the keys to a “qualified affordable housing organization.” Under this scenario the employer/farmer can’t have any role in management or operation of the housing and can’t have a role within the qualified affordable housing organization. In turn, the qualified affordable housing organization is not liable for the housing and need not demonstrate the financial ability to manage such a project (leaving the land-owner holding the bag for housing and tenant problems) for a term of 55 years! This type of “incentivized” housing can’t exist on Williamson Act lands, high fire severity zones, or the coastal zone, even if allowable under local zoning, and could not contain dormitory style housing, widely used for farmworker housing.

We need farm employee housing NOW, and we can’t stifle our chances with half-measures and bad policy, like this bill. Take action today to urge your elected officials to OPPOSE AB 1783 when it is heard in Committee!

Premium Members

To represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and ranchers of Sonoma County.