Category Archives: Cesar Chavez
This action was started here in my little burgh of Bakersfield, CA or more specifically Keene, CA which is home to the UFW headquarters. The United Farm Workers (UFW) created this website and now Steven Colbert is doing a piece on it…which as most know…has a humor slant but it’s always based in reality.
Only three have actually followed through to actually apply for employment as a field worker…aka a farm worker, harvesting fruits and veggies. I have performed this type of work as a teenager, so I ain’t no bleeding heart liberal whining about how hard the farm workers have it. But I am of course a bleeding heart liberal. 😉
From their website, some facts:
There are two issues facing our nation–high unemployment and undocumented people in the workforce–that many Americans believe are related.
Missing from the debate on both issues is an honest recognition that the food we all eat – at home, in restaurants and workplace cafeterias (including those in the Capitol) – comes to us from the labor of undocumented farm workers.
Agriculture in the United States is dependent on an immigrant workforce. Three-quarters of all crop workers working in American agriculture were born outside the United States. According to government statistics, since the late 1990s, at least 50% of the crop workers have not been authorized to work legally in the United States.
We are a nation in denial about our food supply. As a result the UFW has initiated the “Take Our Jobs” campaign.
Farm workers are ready to welcome citizens and legal residents who wish to replace them in the field. We will use our knowledge and staff to help connect the unemployed with farm employers. Just fill out the form to the right and continue on to the request for job application.
** Job may include using hand tools such as knives, hoes, shovels, etc. Duties may include tilling the soil, transplanting, weeding, thinning, picking, cutting, sorting & packing of harvested produce. May set up & operate irrigation equip. Work is performed outside in all weather conditions (Summertime 90+ degree weather) & is physically demanding requiring workers to bend, stoop, lift & carry up to 50 lbs on a regular basis.(emphasis mine)
I have blogged and publicly spoke out, ad nauseum, about the plight of the farm worker, undocumented or not. I have done this for decades as a native Californian and Hispanic woman. How they work ten hours or more a day (without overtime), in 100+ degree heat. How the labor laws always have special ‘rules’ that usually make the farm workers a class of worker that isn’t covered by the basic human rights or wage sections of said laws. This is no bullshit folks….farm workers are usually exempt from many if not most of the protections offered the rest of us as employees.
Most of the responses they have gotten on their website are disgusting, evil, hate-filled comments from rightwing nutters who have no fucking clue.
Every summer here there are dozens of deaths recorded of farm workers that die from heat exhaustion or because a farmer knowingly had a field sprayed with pesticides while humans were working in it. No one is ever prosecuted for these deaths. No ONE.
Spread the word and watch Colbert’s report please….they need all the help and press they can get. If all farm workers who were undocumented left tomorrow…we would start paying 10 bucks a head for iceberg lettuce and who knows what for other produce that we all as Americans, take for granted.
Photo is by the great photographer Ansel Adams
Cesar Estrada Chavez would of been 82 today. He is buried up the road from me in Keene, CA which I drive by every time I go east. He left this world on April 23,1993.
I marched with him. I took shit from the cops and rednecks for him and the cause of Farmworkers being paid a living wage. I had vegetables thrown at me, I had obscenities screamed at me for my belief in Cesar and his mission to get a living wage and decent working conditions for farm workers. I have picked fruit. I know what it’s like to be a farm worker.
I would do it all again. In a NY minute. From Las Culturas:
On April 29, 1993, Cesar Estrada Chavez was honored in death by those he led in life. More than 50,000 mourners came to honor the charismatic labor leader at the site of his first public fast in 1968 and his last in 1988, the United Farm Workers Delano Field Office at “Forty Acres.”
It was the largest funeral of any labor leader in the history of the U.S. They came in caravans from Florida to California to pay respect to a man whose strength was in his simplicity.
Farm workers, family members, friends and union staff took turns standing vigil over the plain pine coffin which held the body of Cesar Chavez. Among the honor guard were many celebrities who had supported Chavez throughout his years of struggle to better the lot of farmworkers throughout America.
Many of the mourners had marched side by side with Chavez during his tumultuous years in the vineyards and farms of America. For the last time, they came to march by the side of the man who had taught them to stand up for their rights, through nonviolent protest and collective bargaining.
Cardinal Roger M. Mahoney, who celebrated the funeral mass, called Chavez “a special prophet for the worlds’ farm workers.” Pall bearers, including crews of these workers, Chavez children and grandchildren, then carried their fallen leader, resting at last, from the Memorial Park to Forty Acres.
The death of Chavez marked an era of dramatic changes in American agriculture. His contributions would be eroded, and others would have to shoulder the burden of his work. But, Cesar Chavez, who insisted that those who labor in the earth were entitled to share fairly in the rewards of their toil, would never be forgotten.
We can not forget him…ever. We also can never forget the farm workers and what they deal with to make a living…ever. You might not understand why this is important to me, but I hope you get the gist of it.
No one works harder for a living than farm workers, and they do it for pennies. They still die in the fields because of heat stroke or because some asshole farmer had a field sprayed while the workers were working there, every year here in the San Joaquin valley. It gets over 100 daily here in the summer. But no one goes to jail here for a dead farm worker.
There is still lots of work to be done and the UFW is trying to level the playing field. Eight states recognize Cesar Chavez’s birthday with a state holiday. Yet… all 50 states eat the food farm workers pick….