Wednesday, August 24, 2011

You [yes, YOU!] can help California farm workers demand justice on 13-day pilgrimage to Sacramento

California farm workers began a 167-mile pilgrimage to Sacramento to seek better salaries, enhanced working conditions and the right to overtime pay. No matter where you live, you can participate.

"The Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Now" march set out yesterday to proceed up the Central Valley, with stops in Merced, Turlock, Modesto, Manteca, Stockton, Galt among other California sites. By the time the march culminates at the State Capitol on September 4, during Labor Day Weekend, thousands of farm laborers and their supporters are expected to be part of it.

Photo credit: UFW
The pilgrims want Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act next time it reaches his desk.  On June 28, the governor vetoed SB 104, the act's legislative title, which would have made it easier for farm workers to join unions, the first step to higher wages and improved working conditions.

A modified SB 104 is set for reintroduction in the Legislature. The main difference: The bill will contain a "sunset" provision, meaning its mandates would expire on January 1, 2015, when Gov. Brown's current term ends. A companion bill will soon be before the Legislature. It calls for overtime regulations to be extended to farm workers.

While most employees receive overtime pay for toiling more than eight hours a day, farm workers have been excluded from overtime-pay rules since 1938, when Congress passed the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.  Agribusiness interests who opposed OT pay for farm laborers heavily lobbied Congress at the time. Domestic workers also are excluded from receiving overtime.

On average, the pilgrims will march 12.8 miles a day, in a walk sponsored by the United Farm Workers.

Can't attend? You can help sponsor the march:
To do a march of this size will cost close to $250,000--even with cutting corners as much as possible by housing marchers at supporters' houses along the route. Between meals, water & ice alone we are talking about $31 per marcher per day or $403 per marcher for 13 days or $20,150 just for the full time marchers. Farm workers from up and down the state will want to join in on the weekends when they can get off work. On the last day we will need to rent buses for the thousands of workers who plan to attend.
To contribute, click HERE FOR A SECURE SITE.

Can't contribute? Then, sign the petition...and share it.

Have a twitter account? Please participate in our twitter petition to Gov Brown by retweeting the following message:
.@JerryBrownGov I'm joining #UFW on 200-mile Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Now march RT TO JOIN VIRTUALLY #labor
Support the California farm workers!

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