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Camp Justice for Farmworkers Rights in Delano, CA

by United Farm Workers Tuesday, Aug. 07, 2007 at 9:16 PM

Farm workers gather at second Camp Justice event in Delano, CA to organize and share skills to fight poverty wages, pesticide exposure and other abuses faced daily by farm workers in CA's central valley..

Shout out to all growers and farmers who grow organic foods and do not expose their workers (or their consumers, neighbors, etc..) to toxic pesticides, herbicides, transgenicos, etc..

Unfortunately these organic farmers are dwarfed and surrounded by industrial agribusiness corporations who regularly expose their fields, workers and food with toxic sprayed pesticides and herbicides..

This unpleasant reality in food production requires a group to organize and unionize the farmworkers to prevent the constant abuse of these migrant farm workers from industrial agribusiness corporations. Until we can reclaim the land from agribusiness corporations and restore the ecosystem with organic polyculture campesino farms, workers will need to organize to improve their health and living conditions in the field. Here in CA we have the United Farm Workers, or UFW. In FL, a recently ('93) formed group called the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), has also organized farm workers there to boycott fast food corporations (Taco Bell, McDonalds, etc..) that exploit farmworkers in FL..

"We began organizing in 1993 as a small group of workers who met weekly in a room borrowed from a local church to discuss how to better our community and our lives. In a relatively short time we have managed to bring about significant, concrete change.

Combining community-wide work stoppages with intense public pressure -- including three general strikes, an unprecedented month-long hunger strike by six of our members in 1998, and an historic 230-mile march from Ft. Myers to Orlando in 2000 -- our early organizing ended over twenty years of declining wages in the tomato industry."

visit CIW @;

http://www.ciw-online.org/

This from UFW about Camp Justice;

"Every morning at 5:30, we race the dawn to meet workers in the dusty fields as they tie their scarves around their mouths, don their fruit-stained gloves, and prepare for another searing day of picking."

Kelly Hayes-Raitt

2006 Camp Justice volunteer



I want to tell you about Camp Justice, the exciting summer project we began last year.

From August 19 thru September 8, the second Camp Justice will again bring together hundreds of dedicated farm workers, supporters and activists from across the country. They'll be pitching tents and camping out at our historic Forty Acres site in Delano.

During three one-week sessions, participants will learn basic organizing skills and will talk to as many farm workers as they can in the fields and at their homes. The farm worker leadership we've brought in to coordinate the volunteers will learn new skills they can use back at their own companies. Most importantly, the farm workers we reach will have an opportunity to sign union authorization cards and take the first step to improving their own lives. The reason we need so many volunteers is because we want to reach as many of the work crews as we can across the San Joaquin Valley, as so many workers need our help.

Farm workers earn poverty wages amid miserable working conditions, with little to no benefits. They are abused, made to work off the clock, toil near toxic pesticides and labor under the blazing sun during the hottest months of the year.

Our volunteers will work side by side with farm workers who organized with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. These volunteers will build the energy and support needed to spur involvement in the organizing campaign to build power at targeted non-union

companies.

Volunteers like Elvia Montero, an Atlantic City, shop steward who participated in last year's Camp Justice. She had this to say, "I came for once reason--to help people in the fields. I've never seen people working with no shade, no insurance, bad salaries. I like the animo here...I'm fighting for the rights, I never stop, never get down!"

And Israel Ibarra, a farm worker who works at Jackson & Perkins--a company with a UFW contract--looks forward to joining us again. "The experience that I had last year I will never forget. I shared with the workers the ways they could obtain the benefits that I have."

For the 2007 Camp Justice to make the biggest impact possible, I must turn to committed friends like you. Can you please join us as a 2007 Camp Justice volunteer? You can get more information and sign up at;

http://www.ufwaction.org/ct/8pNr3L51LuiB/campjustice.

If you can't make it this time, you can still make a difference for these farm workers and volunteers by giving your donation today. It will cost the UFW nearly 0,000 to feed, shelter, train and transport 300 campers and to pay our farm worker coordinators. This amount is in addition to what the UFW will be spending in order to move forward its other ongoing organizing campaigns on behalf of exploited farm workers.

We are offering a special limited edition Camp Justice 2007 lapel pin for the first 50 people who make a donation of or more. This is the same button we will be giving volunteers at Camp Justice.

Thank you for helping make a Camp Justice a reality once again.

Sincerely,

Arturo S. Rodriguez

President

Please make your donation today! https://secure.ga6.org/08/campjustice07/n31Nr3L5155Py?

To see comments from last year's Camp Justice volunteers and to get updates on what is happening this year visit our Camp Justice page at:

http://www.ufwaction.org/ct/8pNr3L51LuiB/campjustice



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