The government of the United States has a long history of violating the rights of workers by using forced labor, and now that its under attack, it is paying a heavy price.
As the Trump administration tries to implement a new rule requiring employers to pay employees at least $15 an hour for doing work, the agency charged with enforcing it is the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
It’s the organization that helped organize a recent wave of protests at factory farms across the country against the Trump-era rule, which was pushed through in response to a hunger strike by the family of Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor who blamed the autism diagnosis on mercury in vaccines.
The Trump administration has accused the food agency of bias, and a group of more than 100 workers has been arrested, charged with contempt of Congress and jailed for their protests.
The Food and Agricultural Organization has been under the leadership of the Trump family for more than three decades, but the new rules were imposed in response not to any specific labor violations but because of a broader effort by the Trump Administration to restrict the use of agricultural labor.
The new rules will require agencies to pay all employees at “reasonable” rates, not just those who have voluntarily entered the labor force or have had a job for at least six months.
The rules were put in place after the Food and Drug Administration in October issued a report on “health effects of mercury exposure” from the use and abuse of the popular mercury-contaminated food product, Altrusa, in some food-service settings.
The FDA report said the product was “likely to cause substantial harm to human health and welfare.”
The report came amid a series of protests against Altrusas use, which began in April, as workers and others challenged the health effects of the mercury in the product and their demands that the company immediately stop using it.
The government has charged that Altrumas use in food manufacturing is responsible for thousands of deaths a year.
The workers have not been paid a penny for their labor.
As a result, the government has been using a variety of tactics to get the workers to voluntarily sign off on the new labor rules, which include forcing them to sign paperwork stating that they will not be paid.
“The new regulations will require all USDA employees to participate in the new voluntary agreement and the agency will provide a letter of notice and a copy of the agreement to all workers to be sent to their employers,” a letter sent to some of the affected workers by the government states.
The letter goes on to state that if employees fail to sign the letter, “the agency will take appropriate enforcement action against them.”
The workers will have to take a mandatory six-month work leave, which is the same leave required for workers in other industries to participate voluntarily in the voluntary agreement.
The agency’s notice also says that employees who refuse to sign will face “immediate removal” from USDA.
The warning was issued to workers in four states and one country: Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa and Pennsylvania.
The notice says that some workers may also be forced to give up their work or be “dismissed” from their jobs without any notice to the agency.
“If you have not signed the voluntary labor agreement by March 31, you will be required to return to your work place for one day each week, beginning March 31,” the letter says.
The USDA has been trying to enforce the new rule for the last six months, after an investigation by The Associated Press and other news outlets.
The Associated States Food and Safety Administration (FSSA) in the United Kingdom was also investigating the use at Altrausas factory in England, where the agency found no evidence that the product caused harm to humans.
In September, the FSSA said that the agency did not believe the safety data was credible and would investigate further.
It did not comment on the investigation by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, which did not respond to a request for comment.
The rule was announced in October as part of the U and D Agencies Sustainable Agriculture Task Force, an initiative by the U, D and USDA to tackle global challenges, such as climate change and the growing use of antibiotics.
The mandate has been controversial.
“This rule will likely impact the lives of thousands of farmers and their families across the United states,” said Scott Bresnahan, the acting director of the FSSC, in a statement.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and closely monitor the impact on the farmers, and we will work with farmers, food manufacturers, suppliers, and government officials to make sure the rule is implemented safely.”
The new rule requires that workers will be paid at least “reasonable wages,” and will be allowed to “choose not to participate” in the agreement.
“Any person who does not agree to the voluntary arrangement must be subject to further investigation and discipline,” the rules says.