Supporting H2A workers in the USA

23 Nov 21 | Chamber News

The South African Farm Workers Association, USA (SAFWA) has been incorporated into the South African Chamber of Commerce in the USA (SACCUSA). 

The mission of SAFWA is to support H2A members who are faced with personal and professional issues while in the United States.

SAFWA will be led by June Cartoon, a Saffa with more than 30 years’ experience in American public policy. Transforming the H2A programme has become an issue of concern to both the SA and USA governments and given rise to the need for a platform where issues relating to South African H2A workers can be formally and ethically addressed.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many farm workers have confronted regulatory and travel challenges.

Both June and SACCUSA President, Neil Diamond, have voluntarily assisted thousands of workers and agents. While this work has been meaningful and presumably helpful to workers, the level of involvement on a voluntary basis is unsustainable.

SAFWA will augment the interests of farm workers from South Africa within the framework of regulations stipulated under the US Labor Department’s H2A programme. It is NOT a trade union and will neither be involved in collective bargaining nor receive compensation for recruitment.

Our work will be for the benefit of members and membership is voluntary. While there may be issues confronting all farm workers and their families in 2022, SAFWA will only be able to assist those who are members.

To preserve the integrity of the programme, members will be required to sign and observe a code of conduct. Every member will have direct access to the SACCUSA team to assist in both personal and professional matters.

We are determined to provide objective, helpful advice and assistance when workers are far from home. Please stay tuned for more details. The programme will go live on January 1, 2022.

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