Strawberry Workers Assaulted On the Job

by Rebecca Farmer, Press Intern
Photo from KCBA-TV Monterey-Salinas, CA

Opposition to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) efforts to unionize California strawberry workers has turned violent, sending three pro-union workers to the hospital. NOW helped the UFW launch the Strawberry Workers Campaign for workplace rights in 1996.

The campaign has put a spotlight on bringing justice to the strawberry fields in Watsonville, Calif., where many of the nation's berries are grown. On July 1, a group of anti-UFW workers verbally and physically attacked UFW-supporting workers. The workers were shoved, beaten and bloodied.  Sandra Rocha, among other injuries, had a crate of strawberries thrown in her face.
Dolores Huerta, co-founder and secretary-treasurer of the UFW was scheduled to speak at NOW's Women's Rights Convention on July 10 but she remained in California to help organize a strong response to the Coastal Berry incident.
When activists gathered to link arms at the Women of Color and Allies Summit, commitments made included organizing with workers like Rocha. After the recent developments NOW Vice President Action Elizabeth Toledo said, "With everyday injustices as well as the recent violence committed against strawberry workers, linking arms and working for change is more important than ever."
Support workers' right to unionize at the Driscoll strawberry farm, also in Watsonville, CA.  Call  Driscoll at 408-763-5100.  Our last issue ran an incorrect e-mail address for Driscoll: is correct.

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