Discussion: History of Farmworkers’ Exclusion from Labor Laws and Organizing for Justice in the Fields
With the introduction of Senate Bill 5438 and House Bill 1398, there is opportunity for stronger protections for guest worker farmworkers. We are monitoring the progress of this new legislation, and will take action in this meeting to call key WA state legislature members for their support. In order to contextualize the significance of these bills being introduced, we will learn and discuss the history of farmworkers in the US labor system. Some topics will include: the guestworker (H2-A) program and its connection to the poor working conditions that farmworkers face, including racism and discrimination within corporate farm management; the history of exclusion of farmworkers from important labor laws, like the Fair Labor Standards Act; and how Farmworkers have organized for justice and protection in the fields. We will learn more about the state legislative process in order to move these bills forward.
Participants are encouraged – but not required! – to read the following pieces to have some background:
- Close to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States (2013 edition), from Southern Poverty Law Center (Parts 1, 2, 4, 9, and 11 suggested - totals 20-p)
- ‘You Came Here to Suffer’ by David Bacon, The Progressive (8-p)
- Sarbanand: A "Dirty Dozen" Corporation contesting being fined in District Court for working a farmworker to death in Whatcom County by Edgar Franks, Community to Community (1-p)
- Block the Expansion of H2A: Say No to H2C! from Community to Community (2-p)
- A New Farm Worker Union Is Born by David Bacon, American Prospect (6-p)
FJP Meetings are a great way to get involved in CAGJ, and are held the 3rd Tuesday/month. New volunteers are invited to our orientation at 6pm: Please RSVP.
LOCATION: CAGJ's new office at Welcome Table Church on Beacon Hill: 1322 S Bayview St, Seattle 98144 (near Beacon Hill Lightrail Station)
POTLUCK: Please bring food or drink to share, if you are able.
Seattle, WA 98144