After months of planning, a 24-day march – with 500 participants – is taking place in an effort to push California’s governor Gavin Newsom to sign AB 2183, the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act. He vetoed a similar bill last year.
The march is set to begin at United Farm Workers’ original headquarters in Delano, California, and plans to go all the way to the State Capitol in Sacramento. The date of arrival is August 26th.
It’d be safer for farmworkers to cast their votes in union elections while reducing the possibility of interference by employers if AB 2183 were passed. Under this bill, an unfair labor practice – for example, voter suppression – could face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.
The bill was created by several assembly members, including Mark Stone from Santa Cruz, Ash Kalra from the San Jose area, and Eloise Gómez Reyes of San Bernardino. The march will cover approximately 12 to 20 miles a day. Planned stops with community members and organizations in towns supporting the cause were factored in. Supporters will provide food, housing, and water for the marchers. Should anyone fall ill due to heat exhaustion or suffer from any other condition, nurses and first responders will be available.
In our country‘s history, it is far too common for farmers to be mistreated. In fact, farmworkers are some of the only workers who remain unprotected by the National Labor Relations Act. Although efforts have been made to improve their working conditions, it has not been enough.
Farmworkers are sacrificing their jobs by taking three weeks off to participate. We must continue to protect farmworkers. After all, they are the reason we put food on our tables.