In blow to workers, labor board proposes redefining joint-employer standard

The National Labor Relations Board will publish a proposed rule Friday that would change its definition of a joint employer. The move would reverse an Obama-era decision that had made it easier to hold parent companies, such as restaurant chains, accountable for the labor violations of franchisees.

‘High-road’ employers also value sustainability, study finds

A new study from the Food Chain Workers Alliance and Restaurant Opportunities Centers United found that restaurants that have higher employment standards are also invested in sourcing food that meets a higher level of environmental and economic sustainability.

Farm labor contractor fined for ‘squalid conditions’

Future Ag Management, a farm labor contractor in Soledad, California, will be fined over $168,000 for failing to provide farmworkers with appropriate housing conditions. The fine will be levied by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Can your seafood be free of slave labor? New tool tries to help.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, known best for its red, yellow, and green sustainable seafood-rating scheme, is unveiling its first Seafood Slavery Risk Tool today. It’s a database designed to help corporate seafood buyers assess the risk of forced labor, human trafficking, and hazardous child labor in the seafood they purchase. (No paywall)

GAO says climate change will seriously cost U.S.

Climate change will come with a serious price tag, says a report by the Government Accountability Office, urging President Trump to take the phenomenon seriously. The study “says that different sectors of the economy and different parts of the country will be harmed in ways that are difficult to predict,” according to The New York Times.

Ben & Jerry’s signs major agreement to protect dairy workers

In a first for the dairy industry, the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s has signed an agreement to eventually buy all of its milk from Vermont dairies that uphold rigorous standards for treatment and pay of employees. The standards, known as Milk with Dignity, were devised by the workers themselves and based on the Fair Food Program established by tomato workers in Florida under the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW).

Alaska salmon plants hurt by labor shortage

Even as Alaska experienced a banner year for sockeye salmon, some commercial fishermen had to stop hauling in the fish because there weren’t enough workers to process them.

World’s top tuna company commits to lower bycatch, better labor practices

Responding to pressure from the environmental group Greenpeace, the world’s largest tuna supplier, Thai Union, has announced a series of initiatives designed to improve its fishing practices and protect workers from abuses. Thai Union owns the popular brands Chicken of the Sea and Sealect.

House Judiciary chair aims for new agricultural guestworker program

During his time as House Agriculture chairman a decade ago, Rep. Bob Goodlatte says he learned firsthand that the H-2A agricultural guestworker program is outdated and should be replaced. Now the House Judiciary chairman, Goodlatte says he will sponsor a bill for a new guestworker program that, in addition to foreign workers recruited to work in America, could cover the tens of thousands of undocumented farmworkers already in the country — but with no pathway to permanent legal status.