Kudos to Connie Yost, Co-President of Farm Worker Ministry Northwest, a member organization of NFWM, for being a part of a recent trip to visit PCUN in Woodburn, OR and learn more about the conditions which farm workers are now facing. Here is Connie’s report.
We had a very enlightening day in Woodburn on July 22 with our host, Ramon Ramirez of PCUN, Oregon’s Farmworker Labor Union and community organizing hub. There were over 50 of us there, Unitarian Universalists and people from other denominations who got the invitation from Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice. Since the election, people are now interested in immigration and many have made the connection from there to farm workers, so suddenly we have a lot more support for farm workers!
We visited two labor camps, one for migrant farm workers who come up from California each season, and a brand new one being built for the “guest workers” under the H2A visa program. We also visited the housing project in Woodburn that the Farmworker Housing Development Corp (a PCUN spinoff) built, which houses farm workers who live in the area year round. Rents there are quite reasonable. Farmworker Housing Development Corp has built housing in seven cities in Marion Co., now housing 2000 people.
Farmworker Housing Development Corp is having a major event/fundraiser on August 24 in Portland. Here is the link: https://evolvemanagement.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/RoofRaiserBenefit2017/tabid/875008/Default.aspx
Also, save the date November 2 for PCUN’s annual dinner in Portland, this year celebrating 40 years of fighting for justice for farm workers and other marginalized people.
During the event, Ramon Ramirez spoke of eight pieces of Oregon legislation that passed in the last session that are beneficial for farm workers and poor people. In addition, PCUN helped defeat 16 bills that would have had a very negative impact on farm worker rights, including about Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave benefits.