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Material 7

Chavez memorial march draws 2,000 in Watsonville

The Watsonville march was also held to support strawberry pickers, who are among the lowest paid farm laborers in the state.

Article from Asssciated Press

An estimated 2,000 people marched through Watsonville Sunday to observe the third anniversary of the death of United Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez and in support of improved working conditions for strawberry pickers. "I think the most important thing we can do to keep Cesar's memory alive is … to bring about dignity and respect for these workers and families," said UFW president Arturo Rodriguez. Chavez founded the United Farm Workers to help protect the jobs and safety of farm laborers, most of whom are Latino. He died April 21, 1993.

Strawberry pickers have been able to unionize at some farms but are still among the lowest paid farm laborers in the state. Rodriguez said strawberry workers are also subjected to sexual harassment and poor living conditions. An estimated 30,000 people work on strawberry farms in California, half of them in the Santa Cruz and Salinas valley area, he said. The UFW is working to raise wages for strawberry pickers, which range between the minimum wage of $4.25 an hour to just above minimum wage; extend benfits for workers' families; implement a pension plan and set up a grievance system. California is the nation's leading producer of strawberries. Watsonville police estimate that up to 2,000 people joined Sunday's march. there were no arrests. Strawberry pickers at VCNM Farms in Salinas struck for three days last year and returned to work after the company agreed to raise seasonal employees' hourly pay by 50 cents to $4.50, permanent employees' pay by $1 to $6, and to fire six supervisors whom the workers accused of sexual harassment and other wrongdoing. The farm's 450 employees also voted infavor of being represented by the UFW.

Questions

Read the newspaper report about the farm workers' demonstration. If you don't understand all the words look them up. Then find out

  • why there was a demonstration in Watsonville;
  • about the situation of strawberry pickers;
  • how many pickers there are on strawberry farms in California;
  • where most of them work;
  • what UFW stands for and what they are fighting for;
  • about their pay;
  • if the union has been successful so far.

Chavez Memorial Walk

Das Bild zeigt demonstrierende Menschen mit Protestschildern.