For our weekend music enjoyment is the song Pastures of Plenty written by Woody Gutherie in 1941. This version is sung by Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert.
In a recent television interview, featuring Baldemar Velasquez – a vigorous farm worker organizer – Bill Moyers summarized the period since the movie Harvest of Shame: “Believe it or not, more than fifty years later, the life of a migrant laborer is still an ordeal. And not just for adults. Perhaps as many as half a million children, some as young as seven years old, are out in the fields and orchards working nine to ten hour days under brutal conditions.” (See the full interview here.)
Among the conditions Moyers was referring to are the daily exposures to pesticides, fertilizers and the resulting chemical-related injuries and sicknesses. Far more of these pesticides end up in the workers’ bodies than are found in our food. President of Farmworker Justice, Bruce Goldstein writes: “Short-term effects include stinging eyes, rashes, blisters, blindness, nausea, dizziness, headache, coma and even death. Pesticides also cause infertility, neurological disorders and cancer.”
¡Viva La Huelga! ¡Viva La Huelga!
For readers who would like to know the battles that United Farm Workers are still fighting check out the Home Page which is found HERE. On their site is an excellent history of the United Farm Workers. The fight for decent living wages, decent housing, and for the right to be represented by a union continue. Today a bill to expand overtime rules for farm workers has been resurrected in the California legislature. Hear this from one campaign of the United Farm Workers. Hear this and shake your heads and get up and help in this fight against may we saw greedy capitalism. Today in 2016 there should be no need for even having to introduce this bill anywhere in the U.S.
“We currently have a new bill, AB1066, which is in the CA Senate. As bill author Rep. Lorena Gonzalez said,“Tens of thousands of farm workers are toiling in the fields without the same overtime protections that other hourly workers in our state receive. They deserve better. California can do better. That’s why we amended #AB1066 — to once again try to get an eight hour day for farm workers. We won’t stop until this bill passes.”
Go to HERE to support the Phase in Overtime for Agricultural Act of 2016. (We will support this bill but have to say, this should not be a phase in. These workers deserve overtime now not in any type of phase in. Most american workers would not allow this if it was happening to them.
The Fight is far from over for the agricultural workers and their supporters. Join them.