Today marks the end of Farmworker Awareness Week, a week for remembering the hard work of the women and men who plant, harvest, and tend our food, often for low pay and under dangerous conditions.
This week is more than a week of remembering, though. It’s a week of action. This week New York Governor Cuomo indicated that his proposal to raise the New York State minimum wage to $15/hour may exclude farmworkers. Farmworkers in New York work hard to pick apples, milk cows, and grow vegetables and deserve a fair and equal wage for their work. Farmers also need and deserve fair payments so they can pay farmworkers, but our advocacy on behalf of farmers does not justify excluding farmworkers from a fair wage.
On the other side of the country, workers from Sakuma Brothers Farm in Washington, along with allied farmworker organizations in Mexico, have embarked on a march to raise awareness for issues facing them. As you may recall, workers at Sakuma Brothers have been asking for a fairly negotiated contract for three years now. As they prepare for the coming harvest season, they are still waiting for a fair and transparent contract.
The workers at Sakuma Brothers are asking for their independent union to be recognized and Sakuma Brothers management is hiding behind the fact that the law doesn’t require them to recognize a farmworker union. In fact farmworkers lack many of the legal protections afforded other workers.
You may have heard that California recently reached a deal to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $15/hour. The Fight for $15 Movement is gaining a lot of momentum. In this video, David Bronner, Cosmic Engagement Officer of Dr. Bronner’s explains the momentum for and importance of the movement to raise the minimum wage that is sweeping across the country. It is vital that farmworkers not be left behind!
Take action today to make sure farmworkers are not excluded from New York’s minimum wage increase!
Thank you for standing in solidarity with farmworkers this week and beyond!