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Old 08-10-2013, 04:36 PM
Northstar Northstar is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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Default Washington state: Illegal farmworkers striking against legal guest workers

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"Early morning talks over wages between the 270 workers and Sakuma Bros. Farms apparently broke down after the two sides could not come to an agreement over what they should be paid per pound for the blueberries they pick.

The striking farm workers, mostly indigenous Mixteco and Trique Mexicans who migrate each year from California, had made repeated demands over wages, working conditions and other issues.

But at the core of their angst is the pending arrival early next month of some 160 guest workers from Mexico to prop up the farm’s existing workforce.

“There’ve been rumblings ... (over guest workers) in the past, but I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” said Alberto Isiordia, state monitor advocate for the state Department of Employment Security.

While growers in Eastern Washington have used the federal government’s H-2A program over the last five years to legally bring guest workers into the country, this is the first year Sakuma or any Western Washington fruit grower will use it.

Many of the Sakuma farmworkers — who don’t speak English or Spanish — say they are in the country unlawfully.

On Tuesday, they met to establish an organization called Families United for Justice to advocate their concerns. "

http://seattletimes.com/html/localne...orkersxml.html
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