March 14, 2023 Press release, Community to Community Development
For Immediate Release:
For a Just and Resilient Food System, Nothing about us without us! Farmworkers hold their 10th Annual Farmworker Tribunal at the Capitol
OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON – Community to Community and Familias Unidas por la Justicia hold their 10th Annual Farmworker Tribunal at the State Capitol today in Cherberg JAC at 1:30 pm. The tribunal is an opportunity for lawmakers and allies to witness the power, vision, and self-determination of the Farmworker Movement.
“We gather in Olympia to energize our Movement so that we can return to our rural homes and continue on our mission to create a just and resilient food system rooted in participatory democracy and respect for the land” continued Alfredo Juarez, C2C.
This Tribunal celebrates the incredible progress made in the past 10 years. Such a these few examples:
- ● The movement established the first independent farmworker union in WA State in 31 years with a membership under union contract at Sakuma Farms in Skagit County.
- ● Passage of SB-5438 sponsored by Senator John McCoy established the Agricultural and Seasonal Workforce Services Advisory Committee, providing oversight to the Federal h2a program in WA State
- ● Established farmworker and immigrant led Promotora programs that saved lives by organizing farmworkers in Whatcom and Skagit areas. Provided rapid response and community based research related to immigration incidents, climate crises and COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2013, Washington State farmworkers have converged on the state capitol for the annual Tribunal. Arriving in buses and vans, and joined by local allies, farmworkers raised their voices to present evidence of mistreatment in the workplace, indict the agricultural
companies who are responsible, offer policy solutions and demand recognition and redress from the state.
Farmworkers recognize that their issues are symptoms of an unjust and unsustainable corporate agricultural industry in Washington State. “The COVID- 19 pandemic reminded us about the foundational importance that food plays in a healthy and resilient Washington state. Civil society and Mother Earth needs a healthy food system not a for profit industrial industry. Without healthy food, we can’t survive.” said Rosalinda Guillien of Community to Community Development.
“Farmworkers are an essential part of a healthy food system, which is particularly important during a public health crisis. With the climate getting worse, investing in creating a more just and resilient food system is critical to ensure Washington state has the capacity to respond to a changing climate.” added Australia Tobon with Community to Community.
The Farmworker Tribunals bring together the voices and vision of farmworkers to the state’s lawmakers and agencies. The tribunals mark the accomplishments and progress of the farmworker movement and set a policy direction for the future. Farmworkers bring key concerns and issues impacting their communities and their families. Those issues include: continued use of harmful pesticides in the fields, deficient and biased data collection and analysis of labor needs and conditions in agriculture that help to institutionalize exploitative working conditions and a culture of retaliation, inadequate response by the Agricultural Industry and State Agencies to rapidly changing climate conditions and continued abuses in the use of the H2A guest worker program.
“We call the ongoing exploitation of farmworkers an economic crime, a human rights violation in Washington State.” said Edgar Franks of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, “The tribunals hear and collect evidence to propose policy, advocacy, and actions for civil society and government to take. The tribunals seek justice for farmworkers!”
Interviews upon request. ###
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