Tag Archives: farm workers

Department of Labor Suspends Bush Guest Worker Laws

In December, I blogged about the Bush administration’s midnight attack on farm workers that slashed wages and protections, sending many laborers back to the Bracero era. Thankfully, upon being sworn in, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis proposed a suspension of the new laws.


Erik Nicholson, a national vice president of the United Farm Workers, applauded Ms. Solis’s decision, calling the Bush rules “some of the worst setbacks for farm workers in decades.” He added, “They meant worse wages and worse housing conditions for these workers and worse discrimination against American workers.”

Glad to see Ms. Solis is already taking a stand as an advocate for workers’ rights in the new administration.

VIDEO: This Brave Nation

The new series “This Brave Nation” is reminding us that together, we can achieve change. Each 30-minute episode produced by the project features a one-on-one conversation between progressive icons. Those featured include Tom Hayden, Dolores Huerta, Carl Pope, Bonnie Raitt, and Pete Seeger, and rising stars like Majora Carter, Van Jones, Naomi Klein, Ava Lowery and Anthony Romero.

Each episode brings us a unique conversation about influences, personal choices, activism and the fight for humanity that unites us. At a time when our country feels divided and we are working towards solidarity for a better future, “This Brave Nation” reaffirms the soul of our movement and strengthens our resolve for change.

Below is the trailer for the most recent episode – a conversation between activist musician Bonnie Raitt and veteran organizer Delores Huerta. For the full video, and for the other episodes, click here.

MALDEF Joined United Farm Workers March In Memory of 17-Year-Old Worker

Taken from Immigration Prof Blog:

Mariaphto Last week, MALDEF President and General Counsel John Trasviña joined Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), AFL-CIO, and marched with 500 farm workers to the state capitol in honor of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, a 17-year-old pregnant farm worker, who died from heat-related exhaustion. (For our story on this tragedy, click here.).Ms. Jimenez fell unconscious in the field but her contractors refused to take her to a clinic, costing the young woman her life.

Forty years ago, Senator Robert Kennedy brought national attention to the plight of America’s farm workers. MALDEF now marches in that spirit for basic protections for the men and women who are so vital to providing food for America and the world. During the march at Southside Park, Mr. Trasviña addressed the crowd and his prepared remarks were as follows:

Brothers and sisters, my name is John Trasviña and I am the President and General Counsel of MALDEF. Founded 40 years ago, MALDEF, the nation’s leading Latino legal organization, promotes and protects the rights of 50 million Latinos in the United States through litigation, advocacy, community education and scholarships. I am honored to join this pilgrimage with Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farm Workers, and all of you here today.

First, my deepest condolences to the family and survivors of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez and the child she carried.

It is with great sadness that we are gathered here to honor and memorialize the lives of Maria Isabel and her unborn child. But their tragic deaths will not be in vain. Today and every day from this day forward we renew our commitment to bring justice, respect and honor to farm workers in the fields of California and across this nation.

Our anger and tears will become the determination and the fire that burns in our hearts to bring human decency in working conditions to the men, women, including pregnant women, and young people, who labor to provide food for our tables.

All workers deserve decent working conditions. But those who work the hardest should have the greatest protections. Instead we see that those who work the hardest, may have legal protection—but that protection is only good if it is enforced. The protections that could have saved Maria Isabel and her unborn child were not enforced. The governor has said we must make sure this never happens again, but it should not have happened even once. MALDEF vows to do everything possible to protect the rights of farm workers so that Maria Isabel and her unborn child did not die in vain.


Thank you.