Friday, July 07, 2006

Another Consequence of Compassionate Conservatism

...The rights of workers and their ability to mobilize and demand safety on the job site.

With all the union-busting over the past few decades, which has been orchestrated by the GOP, it's no wonder that pleas of help are being issued by groups like the United Farmworkers. Pleas that should pull of the heart strings of any person with a conscience.
Imagine being a woman poisoned by pesticides to the point of getting dizzy and weak and even passing out. Then imagine the company doctor telling you and another woman who also became ill from the spraying that what you have is a "personal problem"—a vaginal infection. What if he said that you are free to see your own doctor, but only at your own expense?

This is what happened at Giumarra vineyards--America's largest table grape company--when workers were hit by pesticides sprayed from 50 feet away. It is another reason why it is so important for these grape workers to be protected by a United Farm Workers contract.
I haven't eaten a grape since the summer of 1997 when I attended the Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute and viewed the video ¡Uvas No! - No Grapes! which told many tales of the effects of pesticides on the workers in the fields of California. The grape boycotts of the 1960s were successful in making it less palatable to the country for bottom line profits to matter more than the safety of human beings, but that same battle is being waged today.

To assist the UFW in their relentless campaign for human rights and equality, I offer a couple of suggestions:
  • join their listserv via the top of their homepage and spread the word of their ongoing campaigns for worker protections and cultural equality
  • Donate to their cause
  • if you know someone who is working in the agriculture industry, give them information on the UFW if they don't already have it and show them the positive effects of working together with other hard workers to demand humane treatment in the fields across the U.S. that supply our tables with food.

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