Farm Worker News

Latest Stories from Around the Country


Farm Worker Northwest Board Member Katherine Bell Reports on DACA

January  16, 2018

Farmworker Ministry Board Member Katherine Bell and the Rev. Jill Delaney (United Church of Christ pastor in Yakima, WA) were asked to participate in an action in Washington D.C. to speak with Washington State Senators and Members of Congress on behalf of the “Dreamers,” the more than 800,000 immigrant youth who came to the US as children.

Born in the U.S.A. and working in the fields — what gives?

January 4, 2018

Nicholas Andrew Flores swatted at the flies orbiting his sweat-drenched face as he picked alongside a crew of immigrants through a cantaloupe field in California’s Central Valley.
The 21-year-old didn’t speak Spanish, but he understood the essential words the foreman barked out: Puro amarillo. And rapido, rapido! Quickly, Flores picked only yellow melons and flung them onto a moving platform.

Sexual Harrassment and Assault of Farm Worker Women

January 2, 2018

“A movement, not a moment”: Lessons from the Fair Food Program for the growing fight against sexual harassment and assault in the workplace…



December 5, 2017

The message from the California Supreme Court to growers is that when farm workers vote for the union, a state law has teeth that can force companies to negotiate.

Farm Worker Ministry Northwest Board Co-President Testifies on Behalf of Oregon Farmworkers

November 15, 2017

Dozens speak against proposed OSHA rules affecting farm workers in hearings regarding protections from pesticide residue.  Rev. Connie Yost, FWM-NW Co-President, testified in Woodburn, asking that farmworkers be given at least the amount of protection that salmon get.  Read her testimony.

Washington State's new farm worker labor union is helping improve many lives

October 20, 2017

Ramon Torres, union president of Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) reports that the first season under a union contract between FUJ and Sakuma Bros. Farms was a success on many levels.

All the previous workers at Sakuma Farms who applied were hired this summer, and all workers reported they were happy with higher pay, good conditions in the field and also in the farm camp housing.  This was the first season in recent memory where there were no complaints!

He fought for farm workers for decades. Now he’s a MacArthur ‘genius grant’ winner

October 11, 2017

Greg Asbed developed a model for improving conditions for low-wage workers in the tomato fields, and now the model is being replicated around the world in other industries. On Wednesday, the human rights strategist from Florida was honored as a 2017 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Foreign farmworkers’ unusual strike in Central Washington shows new labor muscle

October 1, 2017 - Seattle Times

A strike and settlement in the apple orchards of Central Washington represents a rare flexing of bargaining muscle by foreign guest workers who form an increasingly important part of the farm labor force.

I am an American: Ramon Ramirez, President of PCUN, builds bridges of understanding

October 9, 2017

Ramon Ramirez is an unofficial tour guide for the city of Woodburn. His clients are predominantly white, older residents of the community.
They carpool to downtown where taquerias and Mexican bakeries are flanked by brightly-colored storefronts selling Hispanic-style clothing, a place where not even savory tamales and sweet-smelling pan dulce could entice them to visit. 
“Because they feared they would be robbed or stabbed,” Ramirez said, those fears perpetuating the stereotypes of an area sometimes referred to as “Little Mexico.”

Deaths of farmworkers in cow manure ponds put oversight of dairy farms into question

September 24, 2017

JEROME, Idaho — Alberto Navarro Munoz had been working on the farm for only two weeks when he encountered one of the most gruesome hazards that a dairy worker can face. His tractor tipped over into a pit of cow manure, submerging the Mexican native under several feet of a “loose thick somewhat liquid-like substance,” according to the police report documenting his death in southern Idaho.

Washington tree fruit group makes case for piece-rate pay

August 17, 2017

The Washington State Tree Fruit Association has defended piece-rate pay in a brief to the state Supreme Court, arguing the system actually benefits farmworkers, a claim disputed by labor groups and activists.
The association says that requiring growers to pay a separate wage for time spent on tasks such as setting up ladders or moving between rows would flatten earnings and cause the best workers to move to other states.
“We will lose our most valuable and productive emplo


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