Washington State Dairy Farm Workers are being subjected to some of the harshest retaliation we've seen in quite a while. While working at Ruby Ridge Dairy, one of the Darigold member dairies, they believed they weren't paid all their wages, allowed to take lunch breaks, or even the rest breaks mandated by state law. So they obtained a lawyer and filed suit. Their employer later fired them, then filed suit against them in retaliation.
The lawsuit filed by Ruby Ridge alleges ridiculous claims that have not been substantiated by any evidence. The Ruby Ridge owners claimed that the Darigold Dozen (our term) intentionally damaged equipment and injured cows, among other absurd accusations. It gets worse. Once the lawsuit was filed, Ruby Ridge lawyers started inquiring about the legal status of the Darigold Dozen. These workers were required to appear before a combative attorney to be interrogated in depositions. In one case, one of these workers, Margarito Martinez had to travel by bus from Tijuana to Washington state, where the day before, he had buried his son.
Despite these attacks, the Darigold Dozen are standing strong. Miguel Cuevas (pictured above), one of the Darigold Dozen says, "We have to stand up to these bullying actions; it's clear they're not only to trying to punish us for standing up for ourselves, but wanting to send a message to dairy workers at other Darigold dairies this is what will happen to you if you stand up for your rights."
The Darigold Dozen have been through a lot and their fight is not over. Neither is the fight for justice for all workers at Darigold.
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Your help is needed NOW. Please see ACTIONS below.
United Farm Workers
Farm Worker Ministry Northwest urges you to advocate for these farm workers and others in the dairy industry by taking the following actions:
1) Call Costco CEO Craig Jelinek----his Exec. Assistant is Mary Ann--direct line is 425-313-8301. Tell Mary Ann you would like to speak to Craig Jelinek.
Your Message: Religious leaders and people of faith are concerned about the abuses of dairy workers at Darigold member dairies. "We request Costco tell Darigold to meet with the United Farm Workers to resolve these issues."
2) Call Stan Ryan, CEO Darigold, 206-216-4283. Tell him that you are supportive of the UFW and Dairy Workers and you urge Darigold to get this dispute settled as soon as possible.
FAST FOR JUSTICE
Thursday, September 20, 8:30 am – 5 pm, Press event at noon
The Fast of Reconciliation: Join UFW President Arturo Rodriguez and Darigold member dairy workers in a FAST at
5601 6th Ave. South, Suite 300
Seattle, Washington 98108
The Fast will continue same time and place on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Sept 21-24.