We applaud President’s Obama’ commitment to Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) which includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States. We are glad to see that the President understands the urgency of the situation and wants Congress to act on this quickly. The current situation is untenable. As the President said [...]
National Farm Worker Ministry Executive Director Virginia Nesmith, NFWM California Organizer Lucy Boutte, and founding NFWM Director Rev. Chris Hartmire and his wife Jane along with several other past and present board members of NFWM will be attending the establishment of the César E. Chávez National Monument on Monday, October 8 in Keene, CA. President Barack Obama will [...]
The Orange County Interfaith Committee (OCIC) will hold its 47th annual fundraising event for National Farm Worker Ministry on Sunday, September 30 2012 at Church of the Foothills in Santa Ana, CA. For those of you lucky enough to be close by to attend, this enjoyable evening will begin at 5:00 pm with a social [...]
by Virginia Nesmith Former National Farm Worker Ministry Board Member Joan Papert Preiss, passed away on June 1, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina. Joan was an amazing woman - as her obituary published in the Raleigh News & Observer attests to, and re-printed below. While those of us at NFWM knew of her love of family and [...]
by NFWM Director Virginia Nesmith I was honored to be part of a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) event that lifted farm workers up for national recognition. On March 26th, the “Pioneers of the Farm Worker Movement” were inducted into the DOL’s Hall of Honor and the Cesar Chavez Auditorium was dedicated. The event was [...]
Seattle March to Darigold Headquarters On January 27th, farm workers from Ruby Ridge Dairy and Occupiers from the Seattle area joined together to march through the streets of Seattle to Darigold’s headquarters. The crowd of nearly 1,000 delivered a petition with 20,000 signatures calling on Darigold, a large dairy cooperative which processes and markets [...]
The National Farm Worker Ministry joins the United Farm Workers, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and the Cesar Chavez Foundation in remembering Richard Chavez and mourning his passing. Richard Chavez, Cesar’s younger brother, helped build the farm worker movement. He was a leader whose accomplishments were matched only by his kindheartedness. Richard shared his time and [...]
By Virginia Nesmith, June 29, 2011 National Farm Worker Ministry staff member Lucy Boutte was present with the United Farm Workers for the last 12 days in Sacramento, helping to organize prayer vigils, marches and fasts in hopes of persuading California Governor Jerry Brown to sign SB 104, the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act. [...]
Bon Appetit Management Company Foundation and United Farm Workers Release Groundbreaking Report on U.S. Farm Labor
PALO ALTO, Calif., March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire
More and more Americans are asking questions about where their food comes from, but few are going so far as to think about who picked it. Farmworkers remain in the shadows. A groundbreaking new report released today, Cesar Chavez Day, in honor of the labor leader who fought tirelessly for farmworker rights, shines a light into these dark corners of our nation’s food system.
The Inventory of Farmworker Issues and Protections in the United States is the product of a unique for-profit/NGO joint venture of the Bon Appetit Management Company Foundation and United Farm Workers (UFW), with support from Oxfam America. By compiling and analyzing data from multiple federal, state, and private sources, it renders the most comprehensive picture yet of the reality faced by America’s least-valued yet critically important workforce.
Key issues faced by the nation’s 1.4 million crop farmworkers:
• Farmworkers are exempt from most federal wage and hour standards, and even existing regulations are rarely enforced, leading to rampant wage theft and other abuses.
• Children as young as 12 are legally allowed to engage in farm work, although it is one of the most dangerous employment sectors.
• Widespread use of subcontractors leads to lack of transparency and difficulty enforcing existing laws.
• Health and safety standards are inadequate, and even those that exist are rarely enforced.
• Most farmworkers are ineligible for unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation insurance that is granted to employees in other sectors.
• Farmworkers are explicitly excluded from laws that protect collective bargaining and free association.
In summary, the U.S. food supply depends on the labor of a socially and economically marginalized population working in often appalling, sometimes abusive conditions.
The executive summary and full report, along with high-resolution photos of farmworkers, can be downloaded from http://bamco.com/page/114/farmworker-inventory.htm.
Virginia Nesmith, Executive Director of NFWM, was among the participants at the First International Global Agricultural Industry and Waged Agricultural Workers Conference, held at the National Chavez Center, Villa La Paz, in California. The event, sponsored by the United Farm Workers of America, Oxfam America and Oxfam Nobid, included representatives of farm worker organizations from South Africa, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines as well as Oxfam colleagues from Morocco, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
During the three day meeting, participants shared information about farm worker conditions and the work they are doing in their respective countries; drew a “wall” of key moments in their history; heard reports on the globalization of the food industry and discussed approaches to organizing; visited workers in the fields of the San Joaquin Valley and in their homes, and began to identify areas of potential collaboration. The similarity in oppressive conditions and challenges from continent to continent was remarkable, as was the passion to overcome them. Everyone left convinced that just as agribusiness and the food retail industry are global in scope, it was critical that farm worker representatives begin to communicate and collaborate on a global level. The conference planted the seeds for that work, as we opened the door to the future with new knowledge, energy and hope.