Monday, January 23, 2017

Steps farm workers are taking to stand up to Trump and his cronies


“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Last Friday, the man who said those insulting words became President of the United States. And the people he said them about are terrified. They need your help.

Bernardino, a worker in the grape, onion and citrus crops for 17 years, says, “Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s campaign I have felt fear, anguish and pressure. . . I’m afraid to even raise my voice and that the laws will not protect all of us.”

Antonio, who has been working in CA’s table grape industry for 16 years, adds, “Since I learned that Donald Trump won the race, I felt great fear. I know many of us as Latinos behave well and all we want is dedicate ourselves to work. I am afraid that one day he would want to deport all of us. It would be so difficult for many since they came to this country at a very young age and don’t know any place in Mexico.”
There are thousands of farm workers just like Bernardino and Antonio across our nation. And they need your protection now more than ever. The challenges we face in 2017 are extraordinary and the need is urgent.

As the Washington Post recently reported, many in the labor movement fear that unions and the workers they represent are now facing their gravest threat in decades. Trump vowed to overturn many of President Obama’s accomplishments for working people. Look at the people he’s picked to do that. His cabinet nominations include conservative extremists who have acted against people of color and working families.

The Senate held hearings on Jeff Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General on January 10th and 11th. Sessions has been called the most anti-immigrant Senator in America. He has waged all-out war against immigration reform for decades and was even refused a federal judgeship after testimony about his extreme racism. Frighteningly, the Attorney General controls immigration and civil rights policy.

Another Trump nominee is Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor. The Labor Department found violations in 60% of its investigations of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, two fast food companies where Pudzer is CEO. Most common were failures to pay minimum wage or overtime.

And he has nominated Scott Pruitt for head of the Environmental Protection agency (EPA). Pruitt’s best known for being a climate-change denier, for his close ties to the oil and gas industry and for suing the EPA on behalf of those interests to dismantle clean air and water regulations.

The workers are not ready to give up and neither are we. Workers are meeting now to make plans for marches, rallies and more. Tania, a grape and citrus worker tells us, “I am here for my family, my children, co-workers and community. The people who feed us should not be forced to live in fear. We are responsible members of the community who contribute to this great country.”   

It will take all of us together to hold the line against threats to farm workers, labor protections, civil rights and the environment. We’ve already started. Can you join us by making a gift today?

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