Fair Treatment for Farmworkers
The Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act extends collective bargaining rights for California’s farm workers that are currently afforded to the state public employees responsible for overseeing California's agricultural industry who work in the Department of Food and Agriculture, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the Department of Water Resources, the State Water Resources Control Board, the California Exposition and State Fair, and the Agricultural Labor Relations Board.
Farm workers have been singled out for decades: excluded from the National Labor Relations Act, the Federal Insecticide Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and Federal Child Labor laws. Even today, California’s overtime laws don’t apply in the same way as they apply to all other workers.
Farmers benefit from over $21 billion in taxpayer subsidies, which include $417 million in water subsidies every year in the Central Valley alone and the “Exemption for State sales taxes for tractors and farm vehicles” – a tax break worth well over $100 million each year. With more than 400,00 farm workers – most employed by a corrupt farm labor contractor system – working on more than 80,000 farms, timely enforcement of these laws is impossible to achieve and too expensive to afford.
The human beings who torture their bodies, sacrifice their youth, and numb their spirits to produce California’s great agricultural wealth, a wealth so vast that it feeds all of America and much of the world, deserve better.
SB 104, the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act, is about self-help. Cesar Chavez always said that the government could only do so much. You can give us the laws, but it’s up to farm workers to enforce those laws and protect themselves through selfhelp collective action.
We ask for your support.
Making Change at Walmart
At the UFCW, we know what makes our union strong: members standing together for respect and dignity in the workplace. In the grocery industry, union contracts guarantee protections and a voice on the job. But at the company with the most grocery sales in America, Walmart, our fellow workers are not receiving the respect they deserve. In the meatpacking and food processing industries, Walmart's price pressures on suppliers can lead to downward pressure on workers' wages.
Our vision for American workers – in grocery, retail, and in our communities – is respect and dignity at jobs that pay fairly and guarantee workers a voice. This is the American Way, and it’s what made our country great. But Walmart has a different view – one where it, the employer, has all the power. Walmart creates poverty jobs: a worker earning the company-reported average full-time hourly wage working Walmart's definition of full-time would be earning below the federal poverty level for a family of four. These jobs do not strengthen our communities or our nation.
We are Making Change at Walmart. We are making change by working directly with Walmart Associates to claim the respect on the job they deserve. We are making change by holding Walmart corporate managers accountable to hourly employees and the public for their practices. We are making change by joining with community leaders in major cities across America to make sure that any new jobs offered by Walmart meet strong standards for healthy, growing communities.
Clean and Safe Ports
Without harbor truck drivers moving freight containers into and out of our ports, the U.S. economy would virtually come to a halt. But instead of being treated with dignity and respect, they are treated like sharecroppers on wheels. An estimated 60,000 port drivers work extremely long hours with low pay, cannot afford health or retirement benefits, and many have one foot in bankruptcy court. They currently have no legal ability to improve their situation because they are usually and deliberately misclassified by their employers as independent contractors instead of as employees. The sharecropper status of port drivers affects everyone because of the troubling implications for national security, highway safety, and environmental pollution. Change to Win and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are partnering to improve ports protection by raising the job and security standards for truck drivers at our nation's ports.
Warehouse Workers United
The warehouse workers of the Inland Empire work back breaking jobs for low pay and no benefits. Their hard work makes it possible for big corporations like Walmart to continue to profit during the economic crisis and for America’s retail shelves to be stocked with consumer goods.