Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Tell Newsom- Respect Farm Workers Rights to Vote


Action Alert: Tell Governor Newsom you stand with Farmworkers TODAY

AB 2183 would amend the Agricultural Labor Relations Act to facilitate the ability of farm workers to vote for or against unionization. 

California League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) defends the right of all workers to form unions and bargain collectively, and we need your voice to urge Governor Newsom to sign this bill. 

AB 2183 expands voting options for farmworkers by establishing a two-track system, in which, each year, agricultural employers will have the choice of enrolling in a Labor Peace Election that will certify a labor organization as the exclusive bargaining representative of a bargaining unit. If the employer chooses not to enroll, then the labor organization may engage in a Non-Labor Peace Election modeled after the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).

Under the 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act, farmworkers have the right to choose whether they want to be represented by a union. This representation election is held via secret ballot at a polling place designated by the ALRB, which is usually at the place of employment. The Legislature has enacted a series of changes to facilitate the exercise of the right to vote. Those changes gave Californians a variety of means for casting their votes, including voting by mail, dropping off ballots at multiple locations, and allowing someone else to mail or deliver their ballot. The changes were made based on the simple premise that facilitating the exercise of an existing right is inherently a good thing to do.

In a representation election, farmworkers present their identification card or check stub, receive a ballot, and cast a confidential vote for or against unionization. If the eligibility of the voter is questioned, the ballot is placed in a sealed envelope and submitted to the ALRB for review. 

Tell Governor Newsom that you support this important bill for farm workers today!

Click the link below to log in and send your message:

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

March for Justice 2022


We have a new post March for Justice 1963 and 2022 on our blog.


It features a photo from the 1963 March on Washington with a link to an article on the march.


And a photo from the 2022 March on Sacramento to protect farm worker voting rights.  August 26,2022.  Along with links to an article and photo pictorial on the march. 

Posted by Duane Campbell

Photo by David Bacon. 

More at


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Choosing Democracy: Join the March for Farm Worker Justice

Choosing Democracy: Join the March for Farm Worker Justice:   Our August 3 to 26   peregrinacion   has followed the same route as our historic 1966 Cesar Chavez-led march.   Our goal is to convince Go...

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Why We March – Again


Gov. Newsom’s choice: Back California farm workers or help the rich. Why is this so hard?


Read more at:


Melinda Henneberger. The Sacramento Bee. 

Once again, farm workers are marching the 335 miles from Delano to Sacramento in triple-digit heat, this time hoping to get California Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign a bill that would make it easier for migrant workers to vote to unionize. That they even have to make this pilgrimage, in 2022 and in a Democratic stronghold, for rights that other workers have had for years, is not just wrong but embarrassing.

 Yet last year, Newsom vetoed a similar bill on account of its “various inconsistencies.” In one of the spiciest columns I’ve ever read anywhere, The Bee’s Marcos Bretón responded by noting the internal consistency of the governor’s position: “The governor is, after all, the owner of a boutique winery. He is also the owner of a restaurant group, and in California, these industries are built on the backs of Mexican workers who are cheap, reliable, efficient and powerless. Newsom is rich; they are just Mexicans. 

The governor acted accordingly.” Newsom, whose almost 500 appointments as governor have left Latinos seriously underrepresented, hasn’t said what he’ll do this year.  

But meanwhile, he still hasn’t given 89-year-old Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association with César Chávez, the meeting she’s asked for. Sure, because what has the civil rights icon done in her nearly 90 years to rate that courtesy? 

The most prominent of the “various inconsistencies” that I see in this situation is the chasm between the national progressive figure that our governor wants to be and the friend to his fellow 1 percenters that he was in vetoing last year’s bill. I joined the United Farm Workers on just a short stretch of their march into Fresno last week, and after maybe a mile in the late afternoon temperatures saw in a mirror at the Catholic church where we took a break that I had a face as heat-stroke red as the UFW t-shirts. People who work in this sun, and are willing to walk across the state to press the governor for his signature, obviously have fortitude to spare. 

But they shouldn’t have to keep making this sacrificial trek. They keep us fed, working through every disaster from COVID-19 to wildfires. Even when toilet paper was hard to find at the height of the pandemic, vegetables weren’t, and why was that? That farm workers continue to be exploited in return, by major players in the world’s fifth-largest economy, ought to make passing and signing SB2183 a given. 

Specifically, the legislation would let workers vote in union elections from the safety of their homes. Which would be a big-deal change because of the well-documented pattern of voter intimidation by growers. Right now, most such elections on whether or not to unionize are held on the property of employers. Pretending that’s fair is like holding a presidential election at Mar-a-Lago and calling that neutral ground. 

The California Catholic Conference of bishops is strongly supporting the bill, which is hardly a surprise, given the long history of church support for workers’ rights. After all, marchers carry a flag bearing the likeness of the Virgin of Guadalupe at the front of the march, as they have for the 60 years since Chávez started talking about drawing the inspiration for his activism from Catholic social teaching. 

Catholic Bishop Joseph V. Brennan greets UFW founder Cesar Chavez’ son Paul Chavez as the marchers in the UFW’s March For The Governor’s Signature rest from the heat in a Catholic Church on Aug. 11, south of Fresno.  Yet when I spoke to Bishop Joseph Brennan of Fresno, who joined the march at the church where we stopped, for the last leg of the day, he showed the same — in my charity, I’ll call it a lack of clarity — that the governor himself has exhibited.

 On the one hand, Brennan said that Newsom should, after the bill passes, “sign it with all alacrity.” But he also said, “There are two sides to every story,” and that pushback “from some of my clergy, one in particular that I sat down with this week, gave me pause — made my decision to be here a little more difficult.” 

Oh? This “beautiful priest,” who has a personal relationship with growers, Brennan said, told him that the stories of intimidation had been greatly exaggerated. “It gave me pause,” Brennan said again. “I need to do more homework.” And how did this meeting end? “It didn’t hurt either of our appetites,” at the meal they enjoyed afterwards, Brennan laughed. A meal enjoyed thanks to the farm workers, of course. Ideally, the time for Brennan’s homework would have been before the day of the test, but there’s no question that the intimidation reported by migrants is real. 

“I can tell you, it’s brutal,” Huerta told me, with workers regularly threatened with violent retribution against their families back in Mexico or Central America if they are found to have supported organizing. Women are routinely threatened with rape, she said. “They say, ‘they’re going to find your body in a ditch.’’’ 

Lourdes Cardenas, center, leads the marchers between Parlier and Calwa during the UFW’s March For The Governor’s Signature segment on Aug. 11, south of Fresno. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA Santos Valenzuela and his daughter Rosario Valenzuela, who picked grapes for Giumarra Vineyards for years, told me about losing a coworker, Asuncion Valdivia, to heatstroke in 2004. “He was new,” said Rosario, “and was being pushed to work as fast as those who had been there for years. ‘You’re behind on your boxes!’ they said, so he wouldn’t even take the time to drink water. 

Then after his death, the company was telling people to say that it was an accident, and things continued like nothing” had ever happened. But for workers on that crew, what had happened is that they then saw how important basic protections were. So the crew became heavily pro-union ahead of the 2005 vote on whether to organize.

 Until the threats began, they said. You’ll lose your jobs if you vote yes, they were told, and “they’ll take almost half your check” in dues. It got so bad, Rosario said, that the company eventually hired her foreman’s daughter to join the crew. “Her only job was to bully me and want to fight me. It was a nightmare.” 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022




By David Bacon
Capital & Main, 8/15/22


Veteran farmworker activist Yolanda Chacón-Serna leads the 24-day march to expand California farmworker's voting rights into Visalia. All photos by David Bacon.

Lourdes Cardenas has worked the fields in the San Joaquin Valley for more than 20 years. "I've worked in all the crops - grapes, cherries, peaches, nectarines. I'm marching because I want representation and to be respected," she said. The respect she and other farmworkers seek is not only from their employers, but also from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Cardenas and members of the United Farm Workers (UFW) are supporting a proposed law to make it much more difficult for growers to use workers' fear against them in unionization votes. Their proposal would extend to farmworkers the right to vote at home instead of in the fields, among other protections.

Cardenas said that change would mean they would "not be intimidated by the bosses because we want a union. If we have to vote in front of them, they intimidate us, make us fear they'll fire or suspend us." According to the California Poor People's Campaign, "AB 2183 would give more choices to farmworkers so they can vote free from intimidation - in secret, whenever and wherever they feel safe."

California legislators have agreed. Fifty signed on as sponsors of AB 2183, the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act, authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D- Santa Cruz). It passed the State Assembly on May 25 by a wide margin, and was sent to the Senate floor on August 11, where its passage is virtually certain.

Newsom, however, has not made a commitment to sign it. A march to gain the governor's signature began in Delano on August 3. Twenty-six people made a commitment to walk for 24 days up the San Joaquin Valley, all the way to Newsom's Sacramento office. Each day marchers and supporters cover between 9 and 18 miles. UFW Secretary Treasurer Armando Elenes even counts the steps in a program on his cellphone. On the fifth day it recorded 14,000 paces.


Monday, August 15, 2022

More than a Wall


By Aviva Chomsky
The Nation, 8/11/22

In More Than a Wall / Más que un Muro, labor journalist David Bacon offers a politically rich, bilingual compilation of photographs and oral histories.

By David Bacon
Colegio de la Frontera Norte, 2022
440pp.  $35  order here

Families at the US-Mexico border wall in Tijuana, Baja California, 2017. (Courtesy of David Bacon)

"We died in your hills, we died in your deserts, / We died in your valleys and died on your plains. / We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes, / Both sides of the river, we died just the same," Woody Guthrie sang in his 1948 classic "Deportee" (also known as "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos"). While Guthrie's song referred to the bracero guest workers imported for California's harvests between World War II and the 1960s, the bracero program was just one incarnation of the uses of the US-Mexico border.

In More Than a Wall / Más que un Muro, labor journalist and documentary photographer David Bacon offers a lavishly illustrated and politically rich bilingual compilation of photographs and oral histories (as well as Bacon's own historical and interpretive text) that serves as a fitting update to Guthrie's song. Many people are still dying in all those places, on both sides of the river/border, and not by chance. Their deaths are the result of the arbitrary and exploitative nature of US-Mexico relations, which pulses through the volume's narratives and photographs. Corporations know no borders, while they (and US consumers) rely on the US-Mexico border to keep wages low and their profits and US consumption soaring. Mexican institutions collaborate with this system. The expensive and elaborate apparatus of immigration law, border enforcement, detention, and deportation serves to keep Mexicans and other Latin American immigrants working, hard and long, at the margins of the global economy.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Support for Human Rights in El Salvador

 I am writing today to ask you to sign on to an international letter expressing alarm about the escalating attacks on human and constitutional rights in El Salvador, including unlawful arrests and detention against members of the political opposition.


Here’s the letter in Spanish (and translation in English) the sign up page


As you may be following, the people of El Salvador are facing a human rights emergency after President Bukele imposed a nationwide State of Exception at the end of March. Now entering its sixth month, the State of Exception suspends fundamental constitutional rights, such as the right to assembly and the right to an attorney. Over 50,000 people have been arrested without warrants, with the vast majority now being held in extended pre-trial detention. The staggering level of arbitrary arrests has sparked a new wave of protest from family members of thousands of innocent people who have little to no other recourse.


However, the attacks on constitutional rights and due process did not begin with the State of Exception. Between April and November 2021, over a dozen public figures from the leftist opposition FMLN party were unlawfully arrested (read more here). 


A few have been released to house arrest but nine remain in prison under extended pre-trial detention without any evidence having been presented against them; as their family members have said, “It’s as if they are serving a sentence without ever having been to trial.” While in prison, they have experienced systematic violation of their human and constitutional rights, including the right to see their attorneys, to medical attention, and to see their family members.


It is essential that we speak out against these unlawful arrests and other forms of political persecution that are clearly intended to silence dissenting voices and dismantle the organized popular opposition, as well as against the overall crisis under the State of Exception.


Again, here’s the letter in Spanish (and translation in English) and the sign up page to sign on before August 22.


For the past year, CISPES has been accompanying the work of a new group, the Committee of Family Members of Political Prisoners of El Salvador (COFAPPES). Given the Bukele administration’s near-complete control over the judicial system at this point - having illegally removed and replaced all five magistrates of the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber, the Attorney General, and hundreds of judges across the country - COFAPPES is clear that international solidarity is essential to their struggle, including to shine an international media spotlight on these abuses.


In support of COFAPPES’ demands, CISPES is currently circulating an organizational sign-on letter to the Attorney General, the Human Rights Ombudsman and the Constitutional Chamber calling on them to respect and uphold constitutional law for all Salvadorans as well as to act impartially and swiftly to release political prisoners and others being held in violation of due process. The letters will be delivered at the end of August.


Would you be able to sign on? We are asking for signatures by Monday, August 22 so the letter can be delivered later that week. You can sign up here.


Let me know of any questions, concerns or ideas. Thank you for your solidarity.


Allan Fisher

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Farm Workers Begin Historic MARCH TO SACRAMENTO

The United Farm Workers union set out for a 24-day march from Delano to Sacramento, the state’s capital.

California farmworkers are on the move. , F Armstrong Photography, Shutterstock.


Around 500 farmworkers took their first steps today in a march for voting rights that will take the participants 335 miles across the state of California over 24 days. 

The march, entitled “March for the Governor’s Signature,” is a rally to urge California governor Gavin Newsom to sign a bill that would allow more voting options for farmworkers when casting a ballot for or against unionization—adding both mail-in or drop-off ballot choices. 

The march began today at the United Farm Workers union’s original headquarters in Delano, California, and it will continue over the course of the next few weeks. Participants will be starting the walk at 7 am every day until they reach their final destination, the state capital in Sacramento. They’re expected to arrive on August 26 after marching on foot for an average of 15 miles per day. 

Farmworkers have faced historic discrimination when it comes to fair labor practices and have long been excluded from labor protections under federal and state laws. In the past, farmworkers have been purposefully left out of protections such as the 1938Fair Labor Standards Act, which guarantees overtime pay, as well as the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, which makes it illegal for an employer to fire an employee on the basis of supporting a labor union. And now, reports Civil Eats, less than one percent of American farmers are part of a labor union.

The current law dictates that farmworkers are allowed the right to vote if they want to be represented by a union. As of now, the voting process involves workers voting at an in-person-only venue, designated by the ​​Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). The process typically happens at the workers’ place of employment. The voters must present an identification card or pay stub and are then handed a ballot to vote on anonymously. The ballots are then reviewed by the ALRB.

A new bill—AB 2183, the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act—would protect voters from acts such as voter suppression by employers, who could face fines of up to $10,000 for the suppression or any predatory labor practices. The goal of the bill is to eliminate hurdles for voters, along with subjection to intimidation and threats when casting their ballot. 

The language of the bill adopts the same used for voters’ rights in political elections in California, meaning it allows for farmworkers to mail in their ballots or opt to drop them off at designated locations instead of needing to be physically present to vote. This provides the opportunity for the workers to seek help with completing their ballot, as well as the option to have assistance in delivering the ballot, as it would allow others the right to do so on behalf of a worker. 

Governor Newsom, who has previously declared August 26 as “farmworker appreciation day,” vetoed the 2021 farm worker voting choice bill in September of last year. 



Saturday, August 06, 2022

Why Jessica Cisneros Lost . It Was AIPAC.

 Prior posts have argued for the election of Jessica Cisneros in Texas.

Here is a description of why she lost this narrow race.

Why Jessica Cisneros lost. AIPAC.