The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue only when we have a position addressing it. If the members have not studied and come to consensus on it, the League has no position and therefore cannot take action.
Studies (whether national, state, or local) are a defined process lasting one to three years, during which we undertake thorough pursuit of facts and details, both positive and negative, and come to consensus about policy.
Agricultural Migrants / Seasonal Workers Study
Over the past five years the Farm Labor Task Force of the League of Women Voters Leelanau County (LWVLC) studied and hosted public programs regarding the labor challenges faced by our local agricultural employers in Leelanau County. Each year agricultural employers experience the challenge of securing a skilled, reliable, seasonal workforce in a highly competitive market. This issue affects the agricultural economy throughout Michigan, but particularly here in Leelanau County, the northern most destination in the migrant stream of agricultural workers.
In 2012 the Farm Labor Task Force completed a study of the hiring practices and visa issues confronting our agricultural employers who must recruit and retain migrant/seasonal workers, many accompanied by nonworking family members. This first study was undertaken mindful of the fact that both employers and workers are challenged by the lack of a streamlined, comprehensive federal immigration and guest worker policy. In 2013 the LWVLC then focused on what factors influence migrant/seasonal workers to travel, often over 1,000 miles, to Leelanau County.
Through interviews of over 50 agricultural employers, workers and support agencies, it was determined that quality of life issues: housing, treatment by law enforcement, education, health care, and other services are compelling factors in attracting a viable workforce. With this report, the LWVLC hopes to make are citizens more aware of labor challenges facing our agricultural employers. Based on this report and the resulting position statement, the League will advocate in support attracting migrant/seasonal agricultural workers to our county.
On Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 7:00 PM at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center on 6686 South Center Highway a forum entitled "Seasonal Worker Housing For Michigan Agriculture" was held. The presenters were Connee Canfield, farmer, migrant housing developer and site manager for SunRISE migrant worker apartments in Hartford, MI (www.sunriseapts.org); Majed Ghussaini, manager for the Migrant Labor Housing Inspection and Licensing Division, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) reporting on updates on licensing rules for Agricultural Labor Camps licensing; and Ginger Bardenhagen, MDARD Regional Migrant Housing Inspector. The event was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters Leelanau County and the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center. Agricultural employers and workers and the general public were invited to the presentation.
Studies from across the nation are in our League of Women Voters Education Fund Clearinghouse for studies.
What Is The Study Process?
- Study Committee members fashion consensus questions that are then asked of the membership as part of a study kit. Kits often include articles, books, data in the form of charts and graphs, videos, suggested speakers, discussion questions, and other resources. Members use the study kit internally and often with their community to better understand the issue.
- Consensus is the overall decision-making process by which substantial agreement among members is reached on an issue. Often this happens over the course of several meetings, but may include surveys and other methods. If the members reach consensus, the board forms recommended positions based on that consensus. Those recommendations are submitted to the Study Committee.
- The Study Committee then reviews all the submissions. It works to form a consensus statement - the statement resulting from the consensus questions - that becomes a recommended position.
- That recommended position is then reviewed and voted on by our members (usually by delegates at our Convention). The proposal may be approved, amended, or be rejected at that time.
- If a position is adopted, firm action can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action can not be taken on that issue.
Read the national Guidelines for LWVUS Studies.