Monday, December 22, 2008

Well, it's definitely the Holiday Season, and the requests for funds are coming fast and furious. One worthy cause, of course, is the American United Farm Workers, whose campaigns have often been mentioned here at Molly's Blog. A worthy cause indeed, and if you have a few spare shekels send it their way. Here's the pitch....
Will You Make a New Year's Resolution to Help Farm Workers?:
As we enjoy the holiday season and look forward to the New Year, I want to ask you to consider making a New Year’s resolution that lasts all year long. Can you commit to make a monthly gift of $10, $15 or more to help the UFW organize farm workers? If it's not possible at this time, can you make a single gift to help us make a difference to the people who put food on your table?

It has been an exciting year for the United Farm Workers. We've been out there daily fighting for farm worker rights and we’ve been winning. We're thrilled to tell you that a 1.68 million dollar settlement was reached for a sex discrimination case against the Tulare County grape grower Kovacevich 5 Farms. The 2006 lawsuit involved six female applicants who said they were turned away by K-5 solely because of their gender. This is a great victory for all women in California and the country who labor in the agricultural industry. We expect the award imposed to K-5 farms will set an important precedent and show other growers that blatant discrimination will not be tolerated.

UFW organizers are out in the fields fighting for farm workers on a daily basis. In 2008, our efforts have gotten hundreds of workers their jobs back after unjust firings. We’ve been instrumental in getting workers paid thousands of dollars in lost wages. Just in the San Joaquin Valley alone, workers have gotten more than $60,000 of wages unjustly kept from them.

Due to the UFW's organizing and litigation, one on the San Joaquin Valley’s largest growers--Sun Pacific--has stopped the process of making workers to take their grape trays home and washing them without being paid for their time. As forcing workers to do this unpaid labor is a common practice, this action sets a president for all grape growers.

We've accomplished a lot, but there is still more to do. This past summer, six farm workers' deaths have been investigated because of heat-related causes. The UFW is doing everything we can to ensure that no more farm workers fall victim to the heat. The laws written to protect them are not enforced, as the state clearly does not have the capacity to do so. We introduced legislation to correct this problem; however the governor did not sign the bill. The UFW is committed to continue our fight until a law is passed to give farm workers the tools they need to help themselves.

In spite of these difficulties, we are excited by our legislative opportunities for next year. We have great hopes for the Obama presidency. President-Elect Obama’s appointment of longtime friend Congresswoman Hilda Solis to run the Department of Labor can make a huge difference to farmworkers.

Please help us bring justice to the fields by making your monthly pledge or a single gift. No amount is too much or too little. Even a few dollars a month will help us get stronger and take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

Thank you and Si Se Puede!
Let's all come together to help farm workers this holiday season.
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