State News

Lawmakers Give Final Approval to Migrant Housing Standards Bill

Posted July 19, 2007
Updated July 20, 2007


— North Carolina's migrant farm workers would be guaranteed mattresses at labor camps and inspectors would more closely review conditions at camps with reported problems under a bill given final approval Thursday at the state Legislature.

The Senate unanimously agreed to changes the House made to the bill, which would allow fewer inspections at the state's 1,300 registered labor camps that consistently exceed standards, known as Gold Star farms. The legislation now goes to Gov. Mike Easley.

Current standards enable some camps to allow 15 farmworkers to share a toilet or an outhouse, while some isolated labor camps have no transportation. Some camps offer only cardboard for mattresses -- or no mattresses at all on the bed frame.

"At the end of the day, they will have a mattress with a cover to sleep on," Sen. Charlie Albertson, D-Duplin, told senators on the chamber floor. "It's a great step for common decency."

The bill would require farms that host migrant workers to register with the Department of Labor at least 45 days before the labor camp is expected to be occupied. Department officials would inspect camps to "ensure safe and healthy migrant housing conditions" and issue a certificate for their use.

If a farm was not 100 percent compliant during the preoccupancy inspection, or if credible allegations about substandard conditions are received, inspectors also would visit the camp after migrant workers leave.

Broader changes were considered in 2005, but the legislation didn't pass after opponents, including state Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, said upgrades would be too expensive for farmers.


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  • ladyblue Jul 21, 2007

    yea Richard I believe that . They should spend a month on the income we are allowed at minimum wage jobs because of illegals working. I also agree with the poster for the one's working in the fields. They are usually all legal and they deserve somewhere to shower and a bed to sleep in after hitting those fields all day. I remember what it was to pick cucumbers and vegatables and tobacco.

  • richard2 Jul 21, 2007

    To see if they passed a good law these lawmakers should spend a week living under these conditions.

  • wmbkab81 Jul 20, 2007

    I too am very concerned about illegal immigrants. But to expect any human being to toil in the, fields all day in the heat we have had, then come in to a carboard mattress. Some of the comments I have read make me wonder if any of the commentors have ever worked in the fields? I realize our government is very slack in preventing illegals from entering the country, but illegal or not THEY ARE HUMAN BEINGS!

  • doodad Jul 20, 2007

    These workers are H2A workers, sponsored by the NC Growers Association. They are documented and when the season is over, they are relocated to another state or back across the border.

  • whatusay Jul 20, 2007

    If they do not have legal documentation they should not be here. When will our elected officials begin enforcing the laws.

  • tmedlin Jul 20, 2007

    what about checking the legal status of these workers!?