29 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 177 (1995-1996)
Down and out in Weslaco, Texas and Washington, D.C.: Race-Based Discrimination against Farm Workers under Federal Unemployment Insurance

handle is hein.journals/umijlr29 and id is 187 raw text is: DOWN AND OUT IN WESLACO, TEXAS AND
WASHINGTON, D.C.: RACE-BASED
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FARM WORKERS
UNDER FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCEt
Laurence E. Norton II*
Marc Linder**
This Article explains how federal law excludes half of the
nation's farm workers from the unemployment insurance (UI)
system. It describes how even those fortunate enough to work in
covered employment often lose their benefits when employers use
crew leaders who fail to report wages and pay unemployment
insurance taxes. This discriminatory treatment of farm workers is
then shown to be racially motivated and to have a disproportionate
impact on the non-White majority of agricultural workers. Today's
partial exclusion of these workers from UI is a legacy of Congress's
complete exclusion of farm workers from all New Deal legislation
intended to preserve the racist plantation society of the Jim Crow
South. Finally, to correct the racial and social injustice of this
discrimination, two simple changes in the Federal Unemployment
Tax Act (FUTA) are proposed.
INTRODUCTION
[F]armworkers ... are at the bottom of the economic
structure. They are faced with trying to make a living in
an occupation with fewer and fewer jobs, one characterized
by hard physical labor, low pay, and seasonal layoffs. Their
exclusion from coverage is not only discriminatory, it
denies the program's protection to a segment of the work
force that needs it most.'
t    Copyright 1996 Larry Norton and Marc Linder, all rights reserved.
*    Attorney, Farm Worker Division, Texas Rural Legal Aid and Central
Pennsylvania Legal Services. B.A. 1966, Yale College; L.L.B. 1969, Yale Law School.
**   Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law; Of Counsel, Texas Rural
Legal Aid. B.A. 1966, University of Chicago; Ph.D. 1973, Princeton University; J.D.
1983, Harvard Law School.
1.   NATIONAL COMM'N ON UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION, UNEMPLOYMENT
COMPENSATION: FINAL REPORT 26 (1980) [hereinafter NCUCI.

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