UFW Rallies to Organize Strawberry Workers

From Associated Press

Thousands of United Farm Workers union members and supporters from around the nation marched Sunday to demand better pay and working conditions for California’s 20,000 strawberry pickers.

The event kicked off the second year of the union’s ambitious attempt to organize the state’s strawberry industry, which produces 80% of the nation’s crop.

With marchers carrying signs and flags with the red, white and black union emblem, union president Arturo Rodriguez said some longtime strawberry workers weren’t being hired back this season because they demanded clean bathrooms, drinking water, pay increases and health insurance.


“Decent people of good conscience cannot tolerate these injustices. The times demand action. We must all become angry and hungry for justice,” he said. “Unless you take a stand, unless you become involved, these conditions will live on and on for strawberry workers.”

While the union claimed 30,000 marchers and said it was the biggest march for farm workers, police said up to 17,000 people marched.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta and AFL-CIO president John Sweeney joined Rodriguez near the head of the 2 1/2-mile march just before noon.