California Farmworkers Often Forced to Live in Squalor

By: Sunday March 16, 2014 9:30 am

For California’s farmworkers, toiling all day in the brutal, sun-scorched fields is hard enough; the homes they return to each night are often in even worse conditions. Though the reforms won by previous generations have extended basic labor and safety protections to seasonal and immigrant farmworkers, many remain shut out of the right to decent accommodations.

 

Farmworkers Fight Wendy’s, the ‘Last Holdout’ on Fair Food

By: Wednesday May 22, 2013 5:45 am

While rain pattered gently on the concrete steps of Manhattan’s Union Square last Saturday, a group of workers were giving the assembled crowd a tour of the sun-scorched fields of Florida’s tomato farms. The performers had turned the urban square into a stage for a street theater performance, depicting backbreaking labor and tussles with industry goons emblazoned with corporate food brand logos.

By dramatizing a farm scene amid the bustle of Greenwich Village, Chelsea and the surrounding neighborhoods, the activists of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers highlighted the connection between farmworkers’ daily struggles and the villain of the drama: Wendy’s restaurants, which are the primary target of the group’s Fair Food campaign for decent labor standards in an industry built on modern-day serfdom.

Farmworkers Dig Into the New ‘Blue Card’ Plan

By: Monday April 29, 2013 2:00 pm

Last week, immigrants’ rights groups finally got the papers they’ve been waiting for, an 844-page whopper of a bill that attempts to “fix” the immigration system by promising a little bit to everyone: businesses get workers, workers get jobs and millions of undocumented people get an opportunity to gain citizenship.

Farmworkers Dig Into the New ‘Blue Card’ Plan

By: Sunday April 28, 2013 4:00 pm

Last week, immigrants’ rights groups finally got the papers they’ve been waiting for, an 844-page whopper of a bill that attempts to “fix” the immigration system by promising a little bit to everyone: businesses get workers, workers get jobs and millions of undocumented people get an opportunity to gain citizenship.

Bulls-Hit Ranch Labor Scandal Ensnared Florida Homeless

By: Thursday November 8, 2012 6:00 pm

They called it “The Bullpen.” Farm workers were roped in from the street by recruiters and herded into the enclosed camp, where they worked during the day and slept in dirty, overcrowded bunks rife with bugs. Some, according to the workers’ legal complaint, wrestled with grinding drug addictions and were sated periodically by dealers who would come by to sink them deeper into debt and dependency.

Though reminiscent of any chain gang from the old South, this labor camp was in modern-day Florida, and these human chattel were harvesting vegetables that might have nourished your family.

Pesticide Threat Looms Large Over Farmworker Families

By: Sunday October 21, 2012 6:00 pm

No matter how good your next meal tastes, it’s likely it made society ill.

A new analysis by the Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN) draws a disturbing connection between pesticides in our food system and serious health problems among women and children. The report reviews empirical research linking agricultural chemicals to birth defects, neurological disorders, childhood cancers and reproductive problems.

Some of these chemicals make their way into the foods we eat, but they are more acutely concentrated in the environments surrounding farmlands.

Working With Your Rapist as Your Supervisor? The Widespread Sexual Abuse of Women in Farm Work

By: Monday May 28, 2012 10:15 am

There aren’t many jobs in the U.S. that are tougher than farmwork. But the job is especially unbearable if you have to work yourself to exhaustion all day under the watch of the man who raped you.

Citing ‘Tradition,’ Big Ag Fights Reforms for Child Farmworkers

By: Sunday April 1, 2012 8:15 am

Under the banner of National Farmworker Awareness Week (March 25-31, consumer and labor groups are working to educate communities about egregious conditions on farms. Now that organizations like the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers have begun to rattle the food industry with colorful worker- and consumer-driven campaigns, Washington should be ripe for long-overdue reforms to curb the worst forms of child labor.

But common decency has again been overshadowed by a well-oiled campaign by the agricultural industry lobby, which has pushed to block the rule changes by claiming that child labor reflects good old American values.

Banana Republic Legacy Thrives in Today’s Latin America

By: Sunday February 19, 2012 6:45 am

The term “banana republic” has become a cliche to describe economic imperialism throughout history, but the legacy of colonialism persists in Latin America today. The tradition of predatory capitalism echoed in the recent death of Miguel Angel González Ramírez, a member of the Izabal banana workers’ union SITRABI in Guatemala.

Deaths In The Fields: Why State Agencies Need Help Protecting America’s Workers

By: Saturday April 3, 2010 11:49 am

We need HR 2067, the Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA). A fully resourced OSHA could fill in the gaps where the state-level agencies often fail. They could deliver larger penalties without the byzantine appeals process at agencies like Cal-OSHA. They could provide the ability for families to seek justice from employers through the courts. Simply put they could restore the promise of a safe and health workplace for everybody in America.

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