Forced Labor Law and Policy Research Fellowship

Based in Bakersfield, CA

Martinez Aguilasocho & Lynch, A Professional Law Corporation (“MA&L”), jointly with the United Farm Workers (UFW) and UFW Foundation (UFWF), is currently involved in a three-year program that focused on the increasing problem of forced labor amongst farmworkers employed in the United States. The term forced labor covers a number of different forms of exploitative and criminal employment practices:(1) debt peonage or indentured servitude, where a worker pays an exorbitant amount of money for the right to travel to and work in the U.S. and spends the subsequent weeks/months of employment paying off this debt; (2) human trafficking where workers face threats to their physical safety (or that of their loved ones) or are otherwise coerced to perform exploitative work; and (3) slavery, where a worker is physically constrained, forced to work under often severe threats to their physical well-being and their wages and often travel documents are withheld by their employer.

Over the course of the last two years, MA&L and the UFW facilitated farmworkers reporting incidences of forced labor throughout either personal contact or via their cell phones. MA&L and the UFW also engaged local and federal prosecutors along with US and Mexican federal authorities to heighten awareness and activity around the issue of forced labor in agriculture. By 2018, it is our expectation to have (1) a robust farmworker based reporting system, complemented by (2) community partners in both the US and farmworker sending countries, and (3) a proven track record of successful civil litigation and criminal prosecutions. In addition, this program seeks to raise public awareness through strategic engagement with the media in both the US and Mexico or other countries of origin.

Who We Want
The Forced Labor Law and Policy research fellowship is ideal for people who want to gain skills and contacts while making a positive difference for farmworkers. We are looking for thoughtful and results-driven individuals who want to achieve breakthrough results while getting hands-on experience. We are looking for professionals with skills in industry research, employment law, corporate research, investigative journalism, and/or grant reporting (measuring and evaluation); and people with a strong commitment to working with farmworkers and their communities. Since we are focusing in particular on the promotion of best practices, advocacy, and raising awareness we are particularly interested in people with a strong interest in public policy and/or employment issues (preferably individuals with a juris doctor, master of public policy, or a similar field).

Fellowship Duties
The fellow will work closely with MA&L staff attorneys, along with staff at the UFW and UFW Foundation. The Forced Labor Law and Policy Research Fellow will oversee a retrospective of the work that has already been done in the past two years; as well as to develop and create a legal practitioner’s toolkit to help root out and prosecute future forced labor cases in agriculture. The retrospective will provide concrete data on the Forced Labor program conducted in the past two years and the legal practitioner’s toolkit will help raise the awareness about the reality of these situations, as well as the need for legal protections to be put into place permanently in an effort to reduce and eventually eliminate this problem of forced labor in agriculture. Lastly, the Forced Labor Law and Policy Research Fellow will work closely with the UFW and UFW Foundation to submit the required quarterly and closing reports to the Forced Labor program funder.

Important Details for Fellowship Applicants

  • Commitment to fellowship period – September 5, 2017 through July 31, 2018.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills (preferably bilingual in both Spanish and English, but not required).
  • Flexibility. Ability to adjust quickly to constantly changing priorities and responsive to feedback. Ability to work long hours and on weekends as necessary.
  • Dedication to Mission. A genuine interest in immigrant and farm worker rights.
  • Collaboration. Ability to work with teammates in a professional and solutions oriented manner.
  • Si Se Puede (It Can Be Done) Attitude. The embodiment of a personal spirit that promotes confidence, courage and risk-taking.

Compensation commensurate with experience.

We are now accepting applications for the Forced Labor Law and Policy Research Fellowship. Interested individuals should submit the following by 5:00 PM (PST), August 31, 2017:

Interested individuals should submit the following information:

  1. Detailed letter of interest (title the document using the following format – LOI-Osorio, Maria – e.g. only use your first and last name)
  2. Résumé (title the document using the following format – Resume-Osorio, Maria – e.g. only use your first and last name)
  3. Writing Sample (no more than 10 pages) (title the document using the following format – WS-Osorio, Maria – e.g. only use your first and last name)
  4. Contact information for three references (Name, Occupation, Email, and telephone number) (title the document using the following format – References-Osorio, Maria – e.g. only use your first and last name)

Please email information to:

María E. Osorio, J.D., M.P.A.
Human Resources Director


Edgar Ivan Aguilasocho, Esq.
Martinez Aguilasocho & Lynch, APLC

For additional information, please contact María E. Osorio at mosorio@ufwfoundation.org or 562.355.7036.

MA&L provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, veteran status or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, MA&L complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

WHEN APPLYING: Be sure to indicate that you saw this information at UNIONJOBS.COM.