SMRLS Serves on Governor's Agricultural Worker Wellness Committee

March 22, 2022

Since early 2021, the Agricultural Worker Project (AWP), a unit within Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS), has participated on the Committee on the Safety, Health, and Wellbeing of Agricultural and Food Processing Workers at Governor Walz's invitation. The Agricultural Worker Wellness Committee (AWWC) quickly became the group's nickname. 

Governor Walz established the Committee through Executive Order 21-14 on March 19, 2021. The order directed the Committee to advise on the COVID-19 response and to develop proactive strategies, through public, private and non-profit resources, to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of this essential workforce. 

The Committee, which includes state department commissioners, union representatives, non-profit organizations, and agricultural industry leaders, submitted its first round of recommendations to Governor Walz in December 2021. The proposal recommended the permanent establishment of the Committee, among other recommendations, to further improve the health, safety, and wellbeing of agricultural and food processing workers. 

"The work of the AWP on the AWWC is vital to ensure the challenges faced by Minnesota's agricultural workers are addressed," said Griselt Andrade, SMRLS lead attorney for the AWP. "Agricultural workers are an integral part of the food supply chain and the work of the AWWC is necessary to look after the best interests of workers." 

To learn more about the Committee and to review the full recommendations, visit https://mn.gov/deed/programs-services/awwc/.

This article was originally published in JUSTICE NEWS: Minnesota's Newsletter for the Legal Services and Pro Bono Community.

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