Posts Categorized: Worker Justice

Ministry working in solidarity with farmworkers

One of our long-time partners, the National Farm Worker Ministry, accompanies and amplifies the campaigns and struggles of farmworker groups and unions around the US. The NFWM office is in Durham, NC and I serve on the large, working board of the Ministry made up of representatives from many denominations and orders. At every board… Read more »

Ensuring Farmworkers’ Health and Safety

This update comes from the Alliance for Fair Food, a Presbyterian Hunger Program grant partner.  The coronavirus has put the newfound resilience of farmworkers on Fair Food Program farms to the test. Farmworkers across the United States are facing an unprecedented threat to their health and safety, a massive shortage of personal protective equipment, and… Read more »

Slaughterhouse: Meat processing workers risk Covid-19 infection

meat processing with bones and meat on big table *** May 7, 2020 UPDATE:  Meatpacking plants have become national hot spots for the novel coronavirus. Of the 25 largest clusters of COVID-19 cases in the United States, six are tied to meat processing plants (the rest are prisons and nursing homes). At least 48 workers have died from the virus, and another 11,000 have… Read more »

The Rise of Big Meat

chicken The PC(USA) passed a resolution in 2016 on Factory Farms (see webpage here) with three major concerns: Humane treatment of animals; Environmental concerns about animal agriculture, including the concerns of ‘fence line’ communities located near factory farms); Support for farmworkers and processing plant workers, people of color farmers, and family farmers and ranchers . The following webinar… Read more »

Wendy’s Boycott and You

Please don’t buy from Wendy’s. Yes…you. And tell your friends about the boycott as well. The PC(USA) was the first Christian denomination to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in a national boycott of Wendy’s Restaurants. Many other faith groups have subsequently endorsed the boycott. CIW’s Gerardo Reyes Chavez says this is great news… Read more »

Boycotting berries

While the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is not currently boycotting Sakuma Bros. farms, we serve on the board and financially support the National Farm Worker Ministry, which is boycotting Sakuma Bros. in solidarity with Familias Unidas por la Justicia and along with several Presbyterian Hunger Program grantee partners from around the country. Last month, the president of Farm Worker Ministry Northwest, Gabriela Raquel Ríos, PhD, met with Danny Weeden, the CEO of Sakuma Bros. The dialogue will continue this Friday when National Farm Worker Ministry board members, including a PC(USA) representative will meet with Mr. Weeden and John Erb, vice president at Driscoll’s in Washington DC.

Gabriela gives her account of the day below and this video gives the highlights.

Following the National Farm Worker Ministry’s endorsement of the Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) called boycott of Sakuma Bros., Driscoll’s berries and Häagen-Dazs strawberry ice cream, we have been urging farm worker supporters to sign postcards to the companies.  We have thus far received postcards from 750 people of faith and conscience around the country.  A delegation from our partner Farm Worker Ministry Northwest agreed to deliver your postcards in person to Sakuma Bros. CEO Danny Weeden.  What follows is the report of that delivery attempt.  While Mr. Weeden would not accept your postcards, know that the message you – a supporter of justice for farm workers – wanted to send was heard by the company.

Sakuma CEO Danny Weeden Asks for “Dialogue” But Refuses to Accept Your Cards

by Gabriela Raquel Ríos, PhD, President, Farm Worker Ministry Northwest

Dr. Rios reports to the crowd waiting outside of Sakuma offices, including FUJ President Ramon Torres (center) and Tirso Moreno, General Coordinator of Farmworker Association of Florida (left) about her meeting with Mr. Weeden.

Dr. Rios reports to the crowd waiting outside of Sakuma offices, including FUJ President Ramon Torres (center) and Tirso Moreno, General Coordinator of Farmworker Association of Florida (left) about her meeting with Mr. Weeden. Debi Covert-Bowlds connects the NFWM national office via her phone.

On January 8, I and Farm Worker Ministry-Northwest (FWM-NW) members, Debi Covert-Bowlds, Carla Shafer, Kristen Barber and Mike Betz traveled to Mt. Vernon in hopes of meeting with Sakuma Bros. CEO, Danny Weeden in support of Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ). Such a meeting, we later discovered, has not been granted to any FUJ member.

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What does WINning look like?

More than 560 people attended (100 more than last year!) the Workers Interfaith Network (WIN) 9th Annual Labor Day Picnic. The day was a great success with fun for the whole family.  Face painting and MoonBounce for the kids, and music and entertainment for all.

WIN’s Memphis Workers’ Center is celebrating four years of seeking justice!  The Workers’ Center educates and organizes low-wage workers, many whose rights have been violated.  They help workers learn their rights; help them recover stolen wages and help injured workers get workers compensation. 

The Workers’ Center helped Fernando Santiago, former waiter, recover $13,000 from stolen wages – the largest amount ever recovered.  In his gratitude, Fernando gived $2,000 back to the Center. 

The Presbyterian Hunger Program just approved a grant of $4,000 to support WIN’s ministry. You too can support WIN by sending a gift online to www.workersinterfaithnetwork.org or by mail to:

WIN, 3035 Directors Row, Bldg. B-1207, Memphis, TN. 38131

WIN is encouraging congregations everywhere to take part in “Wage Theft Sabbath”  during November 19-20 to draw attention to the growing crisis.  You can get your congregation involved by requesting the Wage Theft Sabbath package at (901)332-3570 or email zach@workersinterfaithnetwork.org. And you can provide ongoing support and engagement by becoming a Partnering Congregation!

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Farm Workers to Pressure McDonalds for Better Wages

In just a couple weeks, farmworkers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and their allies will travel from Immokalee, FL – home of one of the largest farmworker communities in the country – to Chicago, IL, home of the…

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