Loretto Supports National Farm Workers Ministry
By Roxanne Monterastelli
Carolyn Jarmillo and Rox Monterastelli represented the Latin America Caribbean Committee at the National Farm Workers Ministry winter board meeting in January at FIRM, Fresno (Calif.) Interdenominational Immigration Ministries. Historically the NFWM board meetings include an action that reflects and supports the work of the ministry.
Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers, spoke to the board about recent successes and future plans of the UFW. Carolyn and Rox then joined Rodriguez, Bobby Kennedy Jr., members of the UFW, local farmworkers and supporters in front of the Coyle Federal Building for a press conference and rally.
Board members joined farm-workers to deliver a letter written and signed by the ministry board members, who continue to stand with the workers, to the Gerawan headquarters. Gerawan Farming, one of the United States’ largest tree fruit and grape producers with more than 5,000 workers, sells its Prima label throughout the country. The company refuses to implement a contract with the United Farm Workers ordered by the California mediator in 2013 under the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act. NFWM supports Gerawan workers as they continue to engage the leadership in efforts to implement the contract.
Several of the Gerawan farm workers joined the board for dinner and shared personal stories. The workers regularly are exposed to pesticides, experience wage theft and work in the rain. They said they are treated like machines and continually pressured to accomplish more work in less time under the threat of dismissal. Several mentioned their desire to be treated with dignity, as they are willing to work and work hard for their families, to put food on their tables while putting food on our tables.
The NFWM board offered its thanks to the Loretto Community for supporting the ministry financially and with involvement in their many campaigns. Please visit the NFWM website for information about their ongoing campaigns at www.nfwm.org .
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