News & Commentary

March 15, 2021

Mackenzie Bouverat

Mackenzie Bouverat is a student at Harvard Law School.

The House will vote again this week on the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which expands the H-2A visa program and provide a path to legal status for undocumented agricultural workers. The bill also freezes farmworker wages for one year; increases would then be capped for most of the country at 3.25% per annum for the following nine years. The first agriculture labor reform legislation to pass the House of Representatives since 1986, the Bill passed the House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support in the 116th Congress. Despite support from over 300 agriculture organizations, the bill expectedly failed in the then Republican-controlled Senate.

After three decades of bustling operations, Jing Fong, an iconic Manhattan Dim Sum banquet hall and one of the few unionized restaurants in the city, has announced its closure, citing an inability to pay rent due to coronavirus-related loss of revenue. Before coronavirus ravaged the communal-style eatery, it drew in approximately ten thousand customers per week and employed roughly one hundred people. But workers and community organizers have proposed to take over the restaurant’s lease and establish a workers’ collective ownership plan under a new name, although the feasibility of the plan remains contingent on the city’s willingness to subsidize the lease takeover and pay the back-rent owed to the owners of the restaurant.

The Northern District of California has permitted a case initiated by two former Morrison & Foerster LLP attorneys, Sherry William and Ashley Klayman, who claim that they were discriminated against because of their sex, to proceed to a jury trial set for August 16 this year. William and Klayman were formerly part of a group of attorneys that sued the 1000-plus lawyer firm in April 2018 for systemic discrimination against women; as five of the women settled their individual claims, the classwide suit was dropped. In the present case, William v. Morrison & Foerster LLP, both women claim to have been withheld promotions and billable hours, given to their similarly-situated male counterparts, because they availed themselves of their right to take maternity leave.

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