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UFW march map
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.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 01:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Hippie, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  "not yet convinced of its need"...?!?! (9+ / 0-)

    ugh.  UGH!!!!...maybe Gov. Brown needs to go "Undercover Boss" and join some farm workers for a week of "fun" in the sun.


    •  I will go to the final event,,, (7+ / 0-)

      but gave up the idea of walking when I saw the temperature was 95 degrees, and the distance between towns was 10 miles or more.

      My city constitution is not up to it - I was sad to realize. We definitely should be paying more for tomatoes and wine so the people who tend the fields can earn a decent wage and have job protections, like water, breaks, and shade.

      The challenges of food production are not trivial.

      "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

      by fhcec on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 08:34:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, brothers and sisters! For far too (6+ / 0-)

    long this has gone on....

  •  That's one HOT walk. (9+ / 0-)

    Any march in the Valley in August deserves a lot of respect.

  •  As the rebels march toward the Capital (9+ / 0-)

    I hope they gain in strength.

    Plutocracy too long tolerated leaves democracy on the auction block, subject to the highest bidder ~ BILL MOYERS

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 08:14:33 PM PDT

  •  We didn't have plans for Labor Day weekend (6+ / 0-)

    but I think we need to go find the route near us in Northern CA and show support.

    Any other SF Kossacks up for a central valley trip?

    Tiny Congress /ht peterboy/ This debt ceiling creation is not a 'Super Congress' it's a tiny one!!

    by SallyCat on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 08:17:26 PM PDT

  •  March (11+ / 0-)

    I stopped by at the park before the marchers left. People I talked to were children or grand children of farm workers who knew Cesar Chavez. They were so careful not to take their children out of school to see the marchers off, but they would meet the marchers up the road over the weekend. I at age 19 in 1967,  a student at Fresno State University, participated in UFW protests in front of Fresno markets. It was that protest and the anti war movement at FSU in the '60's that made me an activist.  I am proud that the march left from Madera.

  •  I made this same march with Cesar Chavez (9+ / 0-)

    in my youth I marched with the farmworkers along this same route and twenty years later I marched in a commemoration march along the same route. Now it's about fifty years later and we're still fighting for basic workers rights. damn

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 08:45:35 PM PDT

    •  if you hadn't done it, it would be 50 more years.. (6+ / 0-)

      Now is the time... IMHO.

      I boycotted grapes in San Francisco, my BIL worked with the Farmworkers in Delano, and this time I will go to Sacto to join the march. It's time...

      "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

      by fhcec on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 08:48:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good for them. (5+ / 0-)

    When an executive asks to be convinced of something, he often-times wants just that.  He wants to see the upside in terms of political capital for taking an action.

    "Great idea; now, make me do it."

  •  I'm all for these guys (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marjmar, Mr Robert, ufw

    But what's up with the carrying-the-cross imagery?  That seems a bit melodramatic.  Maybe I'm missing something?

    •  I believe there's a number of things at work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Carrying the cross for some people is a "cultural" practice; it's "their thing," to re-enact the walk of Christ...which is not to make light of it.  I'm just sayin'...

      Carrying the cross is representative, for some people, of an ultimate struggle; hence, phrases such as "his/her cross to bear"...

      This march, much like the "road of sorrows" traveled by Christ to his crucifixion, is a struggle...a long march...and they are bearing the burden of the working conditions of farm workers...their cross to bear, their struggle.

      Melodramatic?  Perhaps.  But also symbolically fitting, in my opinion.

  •  Don't care if someone marches 2000 miles... (0+ / 0-)

    ...for a bad idea, I won't support it. The only valid election for a union, or for a candidate election, is a secret ballot. How would you feel if someone in a congressional district currently represented by a Republican says, "we don't  have to have a election, we can just have people sign these cards that say they want to support republicans. The cards were filled out in some remote location you can't monitor, and you have no idea if they were signed under duress, or even if the person we say signed them is actually who you think it is, but here they are!"  

    I predict that you would not support that. How, then, can you support this? The only election that will ever have credibility is a secret ballot election in which the will of the majority of voters is respected. I support this for farmworkers, FAA employees, Delta Airlines employees, everybody. Erode that principle, and you're legitimizing the thumb on the scale.

    I don't like Jerry Brown, but I respect him, and I hope he holds to his belief in democratic principles. Make it a thousand-dollar per incident fine to obstruct or subvert an election and put a thousand inspectors in the fields to preserve the integrity of the ballot, but don't create the precedent of legitimizing a weighted ballot.    

    •  But those things will (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      judyms9, ufw, Sybil Liberty

      never happen.  A thousand-dollar per incident fine will be evaded and they obstruct and subvert elections continually.  There will never be a thousand inspectors in the field to preserve the integrity of the ballot or political representatives who are committed to the right to organize, bargain and strike.  Why are unions in the position they are in?

    •  Real solution: solidarity unionism. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      An Affirming Flame

      It would be wonderful if existing union leadership woke up to the fact that the Wagner Act was a devil's bargain.  It succeeded in putting a vibrant and militant labor movement into a government- and corporate-controlled box.

      Here's a five-point plan to resuscitate a prostrate labor movement:

      1) Sell off the labor palaces in DC and use the money to organize.  Send all the bureaucrats and lobbyists into the field to organize workers if they appear at all capable.

      2) Announce that labor law in this country, as embodied in the Wagner Act and Taft-Hartley and their progeny in the states, violate the basic human right of workers to organize, and that they will no longer be accepted as controlling.  Flowing from this, note that all tactics are available, including slow downs, plant occupations and secondary boycotts.  Nothing need be said about sabotage, but it wouldn't hurt to show a nice Sabocat pic.

      3) Announce that unions will no longer accept no strike clauses.

      4)  Announce that not one dime of dues money will go toward support of Democratic Party candidates.

      5)  Announce that no one will have a full-time, salaried position with unions any longer.  Union organizers will work another job and organize.  As for bureaucrats and lobbyists, see #1.

      It would be best to pull all this together with a nice anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-militarist mission statement that acknowledged labor's checkered history on those three fronts.

  •  So even Jerry Brown has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goinsouth, ufw

    sold out to agricultural growers!  He used to be a champion of farm workers.  Now he doesn't believe they need union protections!  Sad, sad, sad.

  •  Damn those Republicans! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Always stomping on workers' rights.

    It's all because liberals didn't turn out to vote for the Ds that we got all these Republican governors.

    Oh wait.

    •  sure, t'would be a far far better world for ufw (0+ / 0-)

      had meg whitman been given free reign by Californians to purchase the governorship


      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 08:51:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Current politics are toxic all over the nation. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goinsouth, ufw

    As all of our resources dwindle, as droughts and bad weather persist, and as Americans decide once again that they don't want to be living under the boot of exploitation, farm workers and all workers who are critical to creating wealth will rise up once again.  These farm workers may be showing us all the way.  The farmers may end up having to pay them to guard the produce as it's growing.
    As for Jerry Brown, he needn't bow to the farmers.  Where are they going to go?  Rhode Island?

    •  If not mistaken, the secret ballot process (0+ / 0-)

      for farm workers (which has since been subverted) was signed into law in 1975, by then Governor, Jerry Brown.

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 09:21:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dems are losing Latino support rapidly. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And Jerry's veto of the Farm Workers bill is adding to the damage.

    Just TALKING about something is no longer acceptable.  People are remembering and judging based on ACTIONS.

    Only thing that's saving them is the insane Repub party.  But you need turn out to win elections, and there's zero enthusiasm.

    Going to be a fascinating election year...

  •  Great Post. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sybil Liberty

    We want to thank Laura & everyone for your support! We started day 3 of the march today and you are right, it's a long hard march. There are many blisters, painful feet as people walk in 101 degree heat. But workers are excited. They know they are spreading an important message. to their peers as they walk through farmworker communities--making stops in Modesto, Manteca, Franklin, Walnut Grove, among other places.

    Farm worker Odilia Chavez, is walking all 13 days. Odelia has never had the opportunity to work under a union contract. When asked why she is marching she said, "I am going to march from Madera to Sacramento because of the bad conditions we farm workers work in. The farmers and farm labor contractors put a lot of pressure on us, they don't respect us, we are paid very poorly and it is not enough to make ends meet. We need to organize ourselves to defend our rights and improve our conditions. We are going to Sacramento to ask Governor Jerry Brown that it is time for him to sign what we are asking. We farm workers need his signature for the pressure to stop and for us to have union representation because as soon as we try to speak up for ourselves we are intimidated or fired."

    Thank you for supporting farm workers like Odilia & giving them the strength to know the community is behind them.  

    PS: We'll be posting campaign updates at UFW Web page

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