On Thursday, April 23, the anniversary of Cesar Chavez’s death, about 100 farm workers traveled to the State Capitol in Sacramento to share their stories with Assemblymembers of California’s state legislature. Their stories touched on the harsh reality that farm workers still live in today, specifically related to access to such basic needs as drinking water on the job. Assemblymembers were asked to display water bottles on their desks with quotes from farm workers such as, “They give us the water they use to irrigate the fields.”, and “We have to pitch in money to have clean drinking water.” NFWM’s Executive Director, Virginia Nesmith, and NFWM-California staff, Lucy Boutte and Christine Lafferty, were all in attendance at the event along with several NFWM supporters from the Sacramento area, including Rev. Jerry Pederson and Mark Carlson from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s California Public Policy Office.
That same day, the California State Senate took a vote on the bill SB 789, California’s Employee Free Choice Act for Farm Workers. This bill would allow for a more level playing field for farm workers to organize in and thus, allow for an environment in which they can more easily stand up and speak out if their rights are violated by their employers. Through this bill, farm workers would be given the option to organize by having a majority of a farm’s employees sign cards in favor of a union. The bill will now go on to face a vote in the State Assembly and then must be signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in order to become law.
You can take action now to express support for this bill by contacting your State Assemblymember (if you live in California) and Governor Schwarzenegger by clicking here!