Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Should Anyone Live Like This?

From The United Farm Workers:

The grape harvest has reached its peak in the Coachella area--28 miles from Palm Springs. We just received a report from our regional director, Joe Mota, who reports that the housing situation is critical. Hundreds of people--including seniors and children--are sleeping outside in the sweltering heat.

Alvaro Celeya, a grape worker for the last 20 years, told him, "We either sleep in our cars or sleep on the floor in a parking lot...[or] in a garage and you have to share it with 12-15 other farm workers who pay $30 a week...The mattresses stink and the bathrooms are dirty. Sometimes living in your car is much better."

Another vineyard worker, Marcelo Noriega, told Joe, "I am important to the grape company...but yet they don’t care how we live. They just care that their harvest is picked...They know how we live, because this has been happening for as long as I have been coming here which is more than 10 years...The more profit they can make, the happier they are and yet we are left living like animals on the floor and using the bathrooms behind trees and cooking our food out in the parking lot. Something needs to be done."

This shortage of housing will continue as workers follow the grape harvest as it moves north through the Central Valley. This summer, grape worker organizing is one of our top priorities. We need your help today to organize these farm workers. Your contribution can make a vast difference.

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