National

Feb 11, 2010 9:21 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Labor Dep't approves new rules on farm workers

The Labor Department is reversing Bush administration rules that made it easier for farmers to hire temporary foreign workers to help pick their crops.

The new regulations will increase wages and offer greater protections for thousands of foreign farm workers. The rules also require growers to make a greater effort to fill those jobs with domestic workers.

Farm owners have vehemently opposed changes to the H-2A guest worker program. They say the new rules make it more burdensome and expensive to hire foreign workers for physically grueling jobs that most Americans don't want. But labor and immigrant rights groups claimed the Bush regulations slashed farm wages and made it harder for domestic workers to claim those jobs.

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