farm workers

Cesar Chavez Foundation

People from all over the country are celebrating the life of Cesar Chavez today. He would have turned 88. Now as FM89’s Diana Aguilera explains, some are also using the late labor leader’s birthday to bring back a movement to make Chavez a Catholic saint.

Supporters of the civil rights activist say the canonization of Cesar Chavez is not a far-fetched idea. This past weekend at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Jose, where Chavez once lived, Father Jon Pedigo renewed the call for sainthood. He says Chavez performed miracles of social change worthy of a saint.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

 A new bill in Sacramento would help provide medical coverage for farm workers. Fm89’s Diana Aguilera explains more about the attempt to provide health care for all.

Assembly Bill 1170 would create a pilot program to pay for medical, surgical, and hospital treatment for farm workers. It would not only cover on-the-job injuries but also other illnesses.

Assembly member Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) says he introduced the bill because everyone should have access to health care.

Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

California’s farm fields can be threatening places for agriculture workers. But a new law going into effect next year is designed to make those fields a bit safer. As part of our annual new law series, Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The law will require farm labor contractors to provide all supervisors, foremen and employees with sexual harassment training. Democratic Senator Bill Monning authored the bill. He says there’s an epidemic of harassment and assault of California farm workers.

Gerawan Farming

The ongoing dispute between the United Farm Workers union and a major valley farming company has reached a new level.

Earlier today the General Counsel of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board filed a complaint alleging that Gerawan Farming forced workers to participate in an effort to decertify the union.

In the complaint the counsel alleges that the company’s unfair labor practices have unlawfully tainted the decertification process.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

Many California agricultural workers aren’t employed directly by farmers, but by labor contractors. Now a new bill in the California legislature would bring about more protections for those workers, but as FM89’s Kerry Klein reports, it’s also the source of controversy.

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California Bill Would Mandate Paid Rest Breaks for Farm Workers

Mar 31, 2014
Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

Paid rest breaks would become mandatory for farm workers and other outdoor workers under a bill now in the California legislature. The measure is an attempt to prevent heat related illnesses. From Sacramento, Max Pringle reports.

People who work outdoors are susceptible to dizziness, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal. Nicole Marquez with the advocacy group Worksafe says farm workers are commonly paid based on how much they pick.

Farm Worker Shortage Hits California Ag Industry

Jul 29, 2013
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For the second year in a row, California farmers are complaining of a worker shortage.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on how the state’s $43.5  billion agriculture industry is feeling the squeeze – and how consumers might, too.

Last year, nearly two-thirds of farmers in a California Farm Bureau Federation survey said they didn’t have enough workers to pick their crops.  This year, says the Farm Bureau’s Brian Little, it’s a problem again.  For farmers, that means…

Immigrant Groups Upset With Governor Brown's Vetoes

Oct 1, 2012

Immigrant rights groups in California say Governor Jerry Brown is turning his back on immigrant communities.

Brown vetoed the so-called Trust Act. It would have stopped local police from cooperating with federal authorities to detain suspected illegal immigrants, unless they are charged with a serious or violent felony.

Reshma Shamasunder with the California Immigrant Policy Center says that federal policy has resulted in 80-thousand deportations.

For Brown, Busy Final Weekend of Bill Actions

Oct 1, 2012
Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown cleared a mountain of legislation off his desk over the weekend ahead of a midnight Sunday deadline. Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on some of the bills he signed and vetoed.

Brown signed a bill that will give some juvenile murderers sentenced to life without the possibility of parole a chance at parole after all; a bill that bans a controversial form of therapy aimed at “turning gay people straight,” and one that will allow some undocumented immigrants to obtain California drivers licenses.

California Labor Commissioner Julie Su has filed a lawsuit against a Valley farm labor contractor for unpaid wages. The case filed in Fresno Superior Court on Monday alleges Javier Diaz of Diaz Contracting committed multiple violations, including failure to provide minimum wage and overtime to employees. The lawsuit seeks over $600,000 in unpaid wages, penalties and damages affecting 129 workers.

The United Farm Workers of America celebrated its 50th anniversary in Bakersfield this weekend. The two-day convention attracted hundreds of workers from the around the valley, and even the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. Solis made the trip from Washington D.C. to speak with the supporters and honor one of the co-founders of the union, Dolores Huerta, with a special coin commemorating her activism for the community.

The conference ended with a video speech from President Obama, who praised the union for their hard work for fair pay for farm workers.