Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda


Other Effects; an occasional look at how the new Administration’s affecting workers’ comp

It’s not just ACA; the new Administration’s changes to OSHA, the Department of Labor, immigration policy, trade, and myriad other programs and policies will significantly affect workers’ comp.

This is the first of an occasional look at these “Other Effects”.

Farm workers

California’s produce growers are concerned that most of their field workers will be deported, potentially leaving billions of dollars rotting in their fields.  While others argue that farmers should not be employing undocumented workers, the farmers, most of whom appear to have voted for Trump, disagree:

“If you only have legal labor, certain parts of this industry and this region will not exist,” said Harold McClarty, a fourth-generation farmer in Kingsburg whose operation grows, packs and ships peaches, plums and grapes throughout the country. “If we sent all these people back, it would be a total disaster.”

Implication – if deportations begin, farmers will have to scramble to find legal residents to replace the 70% of current workers who are undocumented.  Labor costs will go up, and so will workers’ comp premiums.  Expect claims to rise as well, as the field work is very strenuous physical labor which most new workers will be unaccustomed to.

Of course, it’s illegal for those farmers to employ undocumented workers in the first place, so their lobbying efforts – intended to convince the President to not do what he said he would do – amount to asking the Administration to not enforce laws currently on the books requiring farmers to comply with the E-Verify program.

What does this mean for you?

The President is doing what he said he would, surprising some of his supporters and delighting others.

6 thoughts on “Other Effects; an occasional look at how the new Administration’s affecting workers’ comp”

  1. It’s not just in CA. Florida too, would lose out. There goes the price of tomatoes and green peppers, as well as oranges and grapefruits, and decorative plants and trees and flowers.

    All restaurant chains would lose too, and prices of hamburgers and such would go up. Not to mention hotels and resorts.

  2. My favorite quote: From a grower who has millions already in the ground, growing to harvest stage, regarding President Trump;

    “I’m confident that he can grasp the magnitude and the anxiety of what’s happening now.”

    1. Brandon – thanks for the note.

      I find it interesting that people who voted for Trump because they wanted change and liked what he said are now hoping he didn’t mean something he said.

  3. as pointed out, deporting undocumented agricultural workers, will drastically drive up US agric. producers labor costs (and consequential WC costs and claims). The higher cost will increase the demand for imported fruits and vegetables from Mexico and central an south America. (with whom we already have a trade deficit). See e.g. . The president wants to address those trade deficits with higher tariffs. Bottom line US consumers will pay a high premium for fresh fruit and vegetables, and dairy – many will not be able to afford these. Consequently leading to less healthy population. and so it goes

  4. Instead of promoting illegal immigration, perhaps one should argue to increase the quota of H-2A visas and streamline the application process that the prior administration and Congress failed to adequately address for the past several years? Just a thought…

  5. Am I the only liberal who has been chronically disturbed by the willingness of multiple administrations to look the other way and not enforce standing laws? It is not as if food has not been picked in prior eras when this was a fraction of the current problem? There were guest worker programs that can be revived which are temporary visas and only allow the worker in. And perhaps the farmers can raise their prices and pay living wages to workers, and draw on US born people? We pay a fraction of what we as a society used to pay for food as a component of earnings, and goodness knows, this is not helping our health status!

    I know immigrants who played by the rules and gained green cards and citizenship. I am far more sympathetic to refugees from intolerable places than immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere who have economic drivers. That said, many illegal aliens are fine and decent people trying to right for their families. But the logic of allowing people to stay because they are here fails me. Better logic is to ignore borders altogether is someone wants to come, which common sense would suggest would be hundreds of millions.

    As to work comp, it is not clear where the conclusions come from. At least in WA State where I live, immigration status is not relevant to comp eligibility.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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