Tag Archives: Arturo Rodriguez

Breaking News: UFW Endorses Senator Dean Florez in Lt. Governor Bid

Just minutes ago an endorsement that may well carry with it a huge advantage was made in the 2010 race for California Lt. Governor.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) was proud to receive today the endorsement of the United Farm workers AFL-CIO (UFW) in his race to be California’s next Lieutenant Governor.

The endorsement was announced by the UFW today at its complex at 40 Acres in Delano, California.  UFW President Arturo Rodriguez said,

Brave! That’s the word to describe Dean Florez. Farm workers have never had a braver, stronger, bolder friend than Dean Florez. We appreciate the support we get from progressives who get elected from progressive communities. But we admire people who support us when they represent areas where big agri-business calls all the shots. We admire Dean Florez. And if you care about farm workers, you will support him for Lt. Governor.”

Majority Leader has been long-time, staunch advocate for farm worker protections

In his decade in the California Legislature, Florez has successfully fought for many protections for those who toil in the California fields to provide the food we all rely on.

As an Assemblymember, Florez passed legislation requiring seatbelts and forward-facing seats in farm labor vehicles. This did away with the long-held but deadly practice of replacing manufacturers’ seating with parallel wooden benches that maximized capacity without regard for safety. The California Highway Patrol credited the change with a dramatic decrease in needless fatalities.

More recently, Senator Florez passed a measure to protect farm workers from pesticide drift, requiring counties to have emergency procedures in place and ensuring victims have access to proper medical care.

For several years now — since he held the eye-opening “Meeting in the Sun” — Florez has stayed on top of the Administration to ensure workplace heat regulations are in place and are enforced with regularity. The regulations call for basic measures such as access to shade and fresh water, to prevent the needless deaths seen each summer when Valley temperatures soar.

“Farm workers for too many years did not receive the same basic protections most of us take for granted. As a legislator with a personal understanding of this history, that status quo was unacceptable to me,” said Florez. “I am honored and humbled to be recognized for work which, to me, represents no more than the basic humanity we should all show toward each other.”

Immigration Reform for Farm Workers, the Most Practical Solution for America

Now more than ever a comprehensive U.S. immigration reform is key in helping rebuild our country and giving back American working families the prosperity and equality they deserve. When we allow a group of people to be exploited and discriminated against, it negatively impacts American workers by driving down wages, benefits and working conditions.

President Obama recently announced he will pursue immigration reform that would allow the millions of undocumented workers already living in the country now to “come out of the shadows.” For that to happen, they need to be able to speak up and report abuses, organize and come to the bargaining table without fearing deportation. The reality is that most of these millions of workers have already established families in their communities and are part of our society as much as any U.S.-born American.

According to the federal government, more than 50 percent of U.S. farm workers laboring are undocumented. If we were to deport all undocumented farm workers, it would mean the collapse of the agricultural industry as we know it. That’s why the UFW has worked together with the agricultural industry for the last 10 years to craft a bipartisan approach that would ensure a legal work force for U.S. agriculture.

This compromise resulted in the AgJobs bill that would give undocumented farm workers presently here the right to earn legal status by continuing to work in agriculture. AgJobs is the practical and equitable solution in addressing grower concerns about labor shortages and the insecurity that makes farm workers so vulnerable to abuse.

Undocumented farm workers possess essential skills needed to maintain the viability of the agricultural industry. By allowing them to work here without molestation, we can ensure growers have a legal and available work force, and prevent unscrupulous employers from abusing the workers.

Blog by UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez, cross-posted from The Hill