In June, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act, which would have made it easier for farm workers to join unions, currently the best chance they have of protecting themselves from unsafe working conditions and other abuses. But the United Farm Workers aren’t giving up. They’ve started a 13 day, 200 mile march ending Sept. 4 at the State Capitol.
Any group of workers trying to form a union face significant challenges and many are subject to employer intimidation; farm workers face this to an extreme extent. For instance:
“We recently won an election in a nursery on the Central Coast, but our activists were all fired,” Arturo Rodriguez, president of the UFW, told the crowd gathered at Courthouse Park in Madera. “Farmworkers also have the right to get organized and look for better working conditions like others.”
As Latina Lista writes:
In an industry that relies on the backbreaking labor comprised of both an undocumented immigrant population and low-income citizens where some employers have historically been found at fault for not providing basic necessities for their workers—like rest time, shade, water, etc.—it makes sense to allow workers to decide for themselves, away from intimidating employers’ threats whether or not they want to join a union.
In vetoing the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act, Jerry Brown wrote that he was “not yet convinced” of its need. The UFW is determined to convince him.