In this issue:
- The FARM Act
- A Statement in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter
- Joining with the FLOC Caravan
- Are you a Sustainer?
- Stay Connected
- Give today!
The FARM (Frontline At-Risk Manual) Laborers Protection Act (#FARMAct) was just introduced in the Senate by Sen. Merkley (D-OR) to take steps to resolve this issue. The #FARMAct would require emergency funding for agriculture recipients to include and implement sick pay, pandemic premium pay, job security and to follow CDC recommendations on sanitation and social distancing for farm workers.
The bill was drafted with the legislative input of the UFW Foundation, UFW, PCUN and Farmworker Justice. Additional endorsing organizations include Causa Oregon, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the Virginia Garcia Foundation. The bill was introduced with 5 original cosponsors: Leahy, Blumenthal, Harris, Warren and Sanders.
Many farm workers live in crowded dorm-like conditions — some with beds only 3 feet apart — and are moved from location to location in crowded buses. Physical distancing is not always practiced at work sites. As many farm workers are crowded in together and not 6 feet apart, this creates optimal conditions for the virus to spread. In addition to the potential for widespread illness, think about the shortage of labor this will cause and what that will mean for our food supply and the price we pay for food. Farm workers are out there right now doing the work that feeds us. Our government has declared them essential workers and in return needs to protect them.
The National Farm Worker Ministry board and staff have endorsed the following:
A Statement in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter
The National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM) calls on people of faith and conscience to be in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, a movement to dismantle white supremacy, end violence against Black lives and, center Black voices as we work together toward justice. Together with NFWM’s member organizations and farm worker partners, we join in the call to justice with and for the communities who are subject to government-sanctioned violence, intimidation, and economic exploitation.
NFWM is a faith-based organization that stands with farm workers to struggle against unjust labor conditions in U.S. agriculture. NFWM remains committed to ending violent and exploitative economic systems that especially target communities of color. Farm workers long have suffered racially based economic exploitation along with physical, emotional, and spiritual harm. Today, the multi-billion dollar agribusiness system depends on 2 to 2 ½ million farm workers–mostly Latinx, Black and Indigenous people–who produce our food. Always essential but only recently recognized as such, farm workers long have suffered from low wages, dangerous environmental health conditions, sexual violence, and ongoing intimidation – including family separation, ICE raids and detentions.
NFWM continues our 50-year commitment to struggle for racial and economic justice with and for our farm worker partners. It is out of this history that we stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
The Board of Directors and Staff of the National Farm Worker Ministry
Reflection: Joining a FLOC Caravan
by Kate Hamman, NFWM
On Friday, June 12th, I joined FLOC organizers, Triangle Friends of Farmworkers, and volunteers in a car caravan rally to welcome back four of FLOC’s “Barajas Comite” workers. Last summer, Salvador Barajas, a notorious Farm Labor Contractor, blacklisted a group of more than 20 farm workers after they quit their jobs to demand that Barajas comply with the H-2A visa program requirements. Farm workers had accused Barajas of failure to provide three meals a day and a lack of reimbursement for their inbound and outbound travel expenses. Over the past year, FLOC has been working hard to hold Barajas accountable for his illegal, unjust actions and to ensure that the blacklisted workers be rehired for this season. The car caravan was a continuation of this work as we celebrated the return of the first four workers to Whitakers, NC and protested a neighboring farm that refused to rehire the workers.
With signs of solidarity taped to our car windows, we drove into the first farm labor camp, horns honking and hands waving….
Read the rest of Kate’s story HERE:
Are You A Sustainer?
The winds of change are blowing.
In ever-changing times, it is our SUSTAINERS who help the critical work of NFWM continue no matter the winds. In times of hope, it is our sustainers allow us to catch these winds by organizing with our partners and advancing hope for and with farm workers. In times of struggle, it is again our sustainers who ensure our steadfastness and longevity for current and future struggles.
Will you become a sustainer and help us bear the winds of change for years to come?
Your financial donations during this time are CRITICAL
to keep us going.
The easiest and safest way to support the
National Farm Worker Ministry and farm workers is to give online:
NFWM Supports these boycotts led by our Farm Worker Partners:
We hope you will, too!