United Farm Workers

 

Will You Make a Holiday Gift to Help Farm Workers?


2012 has been an eventful year for the United Farm Workers. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of Cesar Chavez' United Farm Workers in a big way with a 3 day convention attended by more than 1,500 farm workers. In October, President Obama visited our Keene headquarters to designate a national monument in honor of Cesar Chavez. Workers at 2 companies went out on strike and voted for UFW representation. We won new contracts in 4 new companies covering 1600 workers. In addition we've renegotiated 6 contracts in the wine grapes, mushrooms, fruit, vegetable, roses, and strawberry industries. We were able to improve each and every one of the UFW contracts we renegotiated.

One of the new contracts we signed covers 800 workers at Stockton’s Pacific Triple E Ltd. This contract includes wage increases of 12 to 57.4% over the life of the agreement, making Pacific Triple E the best paid tomato workers in America. It will help raise pay and benefits for workers in the tomato industry far and wide. Other highlights include a grievance procedure, seniority and job security.

I want to share the story with you of one amazing family of Triple E farm worker leaders. Grecia and her parents labored at Triple E for years. Even her little sister Sophia toiled there in the summer heat. Her parents, Guadalupe and Octavio, still work there while Grecia became the newest UFW organizer in July. The Mendozas exemplify the need and mission of the UFW.

Grecia began working in the fields at just 13 years old. She had to continue working in the fields to pay for her college education. She worked for Triple E for 7 years. "It's important to help my fellow farm workers. I saw all the injustices happening in the fields. I could feel what my fellow farm workers feel and it was part of my motivation to become an organizer at the UFW. I can connect to farm workers and hopefully a change can be made and we can achieve big growth in the union."

Her mother Guadalupe has always worked in the fields. She tells us, "I like how the Union works ...Before there were many abuses. We could not rest when the heat got up to 105 degrees, because the foremen and the contractor said that if we left work early, the next day we wouldn't have work. Before they used to pay us cash and didn't give us receipts or pay stubs. With the union it is different now. We have more respect and they give us pay stubs from our work. And contractors or foreman do not threaten us if we need to rest." Grecia's father Octavio adds, "I would like the United Farm Workers to continue to grow so as to continue to support my other fellow farm workers to have the same benefits as I do."

Next year we have plans to organize another 1,000 tomato workers and bring them the same opportunities and benefits that we were able to bring to Guadalupe, Octavio and the rest of the Triple E workers. Would you help us make this happen by making your holiday gift today? You can make a gift of any amount or even become a Si Se Puede society monthly donor and make a gift that lasts all year long. Even a few dollars in this season of sharing will help us get stronger and take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

Thank you and Si Se Puede!
 

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