Sakuma Brothers Farms Organization of Labor: A Closer Look at Gender Disparities

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Carmen Juarez featured on the cover of Seth Holmes “Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies” (2013) with her daughter. Photo by Tomás Madrigal.

FACTS ABOUT FARMWORKERS IN THE US:

    • There are 3 million farmworkers employed in the United States.
    • Women represent an estimated 630,000 farmworkers in the United States.
    • The majority of these workers self-identified as being Mexican (75%).
    • According to a study done by Maria Elena Treviño, 90% of farmworker women interviewed in California said that sexual harassment is a major workplace problem.

source: Southern Poverty Law Center

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THE PROBLEM WITH PIECE RATES IN AGRICULTURE:

This summer over 300 farm workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms have led three work stoppages to protest poor wages and treatment.

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Farm worker women on the picket line during second work stoppage. Photo by Star Murray.

On July 31, 2013 Familias Unidas por la Justicia recovered over $6000.00 in back wages for minors (youth age 12-16) from their community. But the company has refused to acknowledge the wage theft that has systematically robbed the adult farm workers of a fair wage.

Piece rate wages disproportionately affect the income of women. For married women, their seasonal harvest intake since 2001 has been half of their husband’s income, for example Familias Unidas por la Justicia committee member Eleazar Santiago earned $8,000 in 2009 and his wife Sara Flores earned $4000 for the same hours of work at Sakuma Brothers Farms, this difference was consistent since the couple met in 2007 to 2013.

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Silvia Dionicio Dominguez and family. Photo by Star Murray.

Another farmworker, Familias Unidas por la Justicia community relations officer Raul Merino Paz also earned consistently $2000 more than his wife Silvia Dionicio Dominguez since 2004 for the same hours of work at Sakuma Brothers Farms, but in the summer of 2007, they had an accident before the harvest and couldn’t come to Burlington, WA they worked instead harvesting plums, melons and apples near Madera, CA where they were paid by the hour they both earned $4000.

Wage theft by piece rate disproportionately affects women farm workers sometimes as high as 50% of their earning capacity.This is why Familias Unidas por la Justicia has been struggling to secure a living wage equivalent to $12.00 per hour from their employer.

For personal testimony of what it is like to be a farm worker, please come and listen to Familias Unidas por la Justicia youth leader Marcelina Hilario and Community to Community Development leader Angelica Villa speak at the following Benefit in Seattle.

FARMWORKER WOMEN BATTLE FOR WORKERS’ RIGHTS AND DIGNITY

benefit for Familias Unidas por la Justicia

hosted by Radical Women Seattle Branch

DATE: Saturday, August 24, 2013

TIME: 7:30pm

PLACE: New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/549262865123449/

Look for important updates about Familias Unidas por la Justicia and press releases at http://www.foodjustice.org and on Community to Community Development’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Community2Community!

Viva la Huelga! Viva La Mujer! Viva Familias Unidas por la Justicia!

http://www.wagetheft.org/resources/resources.html

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