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Farm workers begin a 167-mile pilgrimage up Central Valley to State Capitol demanding ‘Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Now’
08/20/2011

Farm workers begin a 167-mile pilgrimage up Central Valley to State Capitol demanding ‘Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Now’
 
SACRAMENTO - Saying the time to act is now, farm workers will begin a 167-mile pilgrimage up the Central Valley to Sacramento to press for enactment of the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act.

‘The Fair Treatment For Farm Workers Now’ March begins at 9 a.m. August 23, 2011 in Madera. The march organized by the United Farm Workers, will end on Sept. 4th, Labor Day weekend, at the State Capitol.

In his veto message of June 28, Brown said he was “not yet convinced” that he needed to sign SB 104, a bill that would have made it easier for farm workers to join unions also known as the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act.

For California’s more than 400,000 farm workers, most of whom are not in unions, “not yet” means most of them do not have basic justice enjoyed by other workers, including fair wages and protection from abuse. “Not yet” means it’s been 73 years and counting since agribusiness successfully lobbied Congress to exclude agricultural workers from overtime-pay rules under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

“Not yet” means hundreds of farm workers who last year voted for union representation have waited more than a year for the Agricultural Labor Relations Board to take the simple act of certifying the elections.

 “Not yet” means more farm workers face death under the scorching California sun as growers continue to ignore the state’s heat, water and shade regulations. At least 16 California farm workers have suffered heat-related deaths since 2005, and the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health says it is investigating the deaths of two other farm workers – one in April in Imperial County, one in June in Riverside County – possibly from the same cause.

This time, farm workers will return to Sacramento to campaign for the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act and the right to be paid overtime after 8 hours like all other workers. The two bills are expected to be introduced in the Legislature soon.

The march will begin at 9 a.m. with a short program from 9 to 10 a.m. at Courthouse Park, at Gateway Drive and Yosemite Avenue in Madera.

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