Stop the senseless deaths on the California farms, 5 more deaths in the fields since the underage pregnant girl

On June 3rd. I wrote Underage and pregnant Mexican teen dies on California vinyard, seems not much has changed.

You can help the California farm workers get to Sacramento by donating for their bus trip to California. This comes from fellow labor communicator TomP over at DailyKos.

Six California farm workers have died since May from what appears to be heat related causes. The latest one was Maria De Jesus Alvarez, 63, mother of nine, who died early this month. The first one to die was 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, who died in May. Marie was about a month pregnant when she died, and likely did not ever know she was pregnant. The state fined the labor contractor $262,700 for failing to follow heat illness prevention regulations at the time Jimenez was stricken, but that won't bring her back. And the deaths have continued at an accelerated pace since then.

You can help to end this tragedy. This Monday, August 18, more than 800 farm workers from throughout California want to go to Sacramento to lobby the Legislature on a key bill that will help them help themeselves. They want the chance to tell the Governor and their elected officials to support AB 2386, "Secret Ballot Elections for Farmworkers," which has moved out of the assembly and which will be voted on that afternoon in the state senate.

I have been writing for months on the deaths of farm workers in California from the heat. Six farm workers deaths are being or have been investigated because of heat-related causes since May.

This brings to 15 the number of farm workers whose death have been investigated as heat-related since Governor Schwarzenegger took office.

You can learn more details of this continuing tragedy in these diaries:

Sixth Farm Worker Dies from the Heat this Summer in California. A Call for Action.

Another Farm Worker dies. Does anyone give a damn? The Netroots Do.

United Farm Workers Calls for Manslaughter Charges Against Company in Death of 17 Year Old

How many Farmworkers must die before someone cares??

Please Tell Fallen Farm Worker's Family We Care

"How much is the life of a farm worker worth? Is it less than the life of any other human being?"

As UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez said at the funeral of 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez:

How much is the life of a farm worker worth? Is it less than the life of any other human being?

The state has fined the labor contractor for whom Maria Isabel worked:

Atwater-based Merced Farm Labor, the contractor investigated in the death of Lodi teen Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez last spring, was fined $262,700 by the state [in July] for failure to follow heat illness prevention regulations at the time Jimenez was stricken.

Jimenez, a 17-year-old pregnant farm laborer, collapsed May 14 in a Farmington vineyard operated by West Coast Grape Farming and died two days later. Her death from heatstroke was ruled an occupational death by the San Joaquin County coroner.

State fines labor firm over death

In honor of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, the march from Lodi, CA to Sacramento State Capitol, June 4, 2008:

Since then, five more farm workers have died from what appears to be heat-related causes.

August 2, 2008: Maria de Jesus Alvarez.

July 31, 2008: Jorge Herrera.

July 9, 2008: Ramiro Carrillo Rodriguez.

July 9, 2008: Abdon Felix Garcia.

June 20, 2008: Jose Macrena Hernandez.

Farm worker dies in Santa Maria, California. Television news report on the death of Jose Macrena Hernandez:

These deaths make it clear the state does not have the capacity to protect farm workers. With all the budget cuts and other issues in California now, the state, even if well intentioned, simply has not been able to protect these workers. So they must protect themselves.

We can make a difference and it will not take much.

The vital legislation that Speaker Emeritus Nunez has introduced--and the workers want to go to Sacramento and lobby for--protects farm workers' right to a secret ballot election and will make it easier for farm workers to organize and enforce the laws that the state cannot enforce.

Please TAKE ACTION TODAY and ask California legislatures to support this vital bill..

If you can't attend please make a donation to help the United Farm Workers rent 14 buses, additional vans, plus pay for food and other supplies which will cost in excess of $31,770 for the day.

There is nothing more powerful than hearing a farm worker story face-to-face, especially to lawmakers.

Doroteo Jimenez, grape worker and uncle of 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez who died in May explains why she must go to Sacremento.

I want to go to Sacramento and speak to the legislators.

My niece Maria Isabel died because growers treat us like tools instead of like people. I spoke up and I was unjustly fired. This needs to change now. I don't want to see other families suffer like our family has. This bill can change farm workers' lives for the better.

Please help us.

Margarita Hernandez, grape worker knows that that there must be changes in the workplace:

The reason for me to go to Sacramento is because I want changes in the working conditions at my job and the other companies. In the place where I work, Sun Pacific, we don't have shade and the drinking water is without ice until 9 am—though they know that by that hour it is already hot.

There have been people have felt sick from the heat and the company people always ask if they feel bad because of something they ate...

I feel there is no respect for the farm worker, even though many farm workers have died. The companies don't change their treatment towards the farm workers. That is why I am going to Sacramento. I have the hope that one day, we will be treated better.

Just to rent the buses and vans needed, will cost $26,570 and that does not cover the food and other supplies needed.

The UNF hopes that internet supporters would contribute $5,510 towards this expense. This will cover the transportation costs of 140 workers at $39.36 per worker. Let's show them that Daily Kos can do it and more!

Can you make sure Doroteo, Margarita and others get seats on the bus?

When the union is strong, growers and labor contractors follow the California heat regulations, and lives can be saved. This bill is key to growing the union and, literally, saving lives.

Where farm workers are protected by union contracts, the laws are honored.

And when growers know it is easier for farm workers to organize and bring in the union, employers are much more careful about obeying the law because they don’t want to give the union an advantage.

So the answer, sisters and brothers, is self-help—making it easier for farm workers to organize so the laws on the books are the laws in the fields. Then more important human beings like Maria Isabel won’t have to die.

Remarks by Arturo S. Rodriguez, President, United Farm Workers of America, Honoring Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, June 4, 2008

Please help.

Please TAKE ACTION TODAY and ask California legislatures to support this vital bill.

If you can't attend please make a donation to help the United Farm Workers rent 14 buses, additional vans, plus pay for food and other supplies which will cost in excess of $31,770 for the day.

Yesterday we mourned,
Today we act,
Tomorrow we will gain justice.

Si, Se Puede!

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