July 18, 2005 |
August will mark the 40th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike, but the effort to ensure the rights of farmworkers is not over. The strike lasted five years, involved more than 5,000 farmworkers, and led to the first collective bargaining agreements for farmworkers in U.S. history. Unlike almost any other job in the United States, workers toiling the fields had no real rights prior to this momentous event. Laws that protected other workers did not apply to farmworkers. As a result, many farmworkers were subject to hazardous working conditions, harmful toxics, child labor and poverty wages.
June 30, 1988 |
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $601,000 grant to a Harrisburg organization to provide health care for migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Pennsylvania Farmworker Opportunities, part of a four-state consortium called Rural Opportunities Inc., will receive $601,000 for fiscal 1989, with a scheduled allocation of the same amount in fiscal 1990 and 1991, according to state director Bill Reinke. Reinke said that beginning tomorrow, the Harrisburg-based nonprofit organization would assume responsibilities from the state Department of Health for health care for the estimated 20,000 migrant and seasonal farmworkers in Pennsylvania.
May 17, 1987 |
Alejandro was trying to smile despite the pain of his perforated eardrum, produced by an infection that had refused to heal. The young migrant worker had come to the clinic for medical treatment and perhaps a kind word or two. He found both at the new Project Salud clinic, opened last week in Kennett Square, under the umbrella of La Comunidad Hispana and Southern Chester County Community Health Services. Project Salud, which began in August 1985, moved last week from a medical office in Kennett Square to rented quarters in a blue cinderblock building on Birch Street.
May 23, 1991 |
Iris Opio, daughter of migrant workers, was raised around Kennett Square, where her family settled after leaving Puerto Rico in 1966. Growing up, Opio attended special state-sponsored classes to improve the education of migrant children. Coming from an area where two-thirds of migrant children still drop out of school, Opio, 30, is a success story. "I knew what I wanted to do all along," said Opio, a nurse at Project Salud, a bilingual health clinic in Kennett Square.
August 19, 2004 |
In this orange-growing region, the wallop of Hurricane Charley is clear. There are hundreds of downed orange trees, with the fallen fruit spread across many acres in the Arcadia area. Dozens of mobile homes are smashed, split in two or crushed, their furniture and household items flung afar. Friday's hurricane dealt a double blow: to the state's $9 billion citrus industry and to migrant and seasonal farm workers who have come to the area to harvest the fruit. On the business side, great chunks of the citrus economy could be imperiled, though the damage is still being assessed.
April 5, 2000 |
A federal judge has ordered the government to spend at least three more years making sure migrant workers who were illegally charged rent get their money back, criticizing its previous efforts. In a ruling issued last month, Chief Judge Richard Enslen amended his 1996 order against the U.S. Department of Agriculture to require the agency to make regular reports showing its progress in the refund efforts. New Jersey is one of 14 states where the bulk of the farmers who participated in the loan program lived and worked.
September 23, 1989 |
Jose Ramos stood in a windswept peach orchard and fought back tears. He never again will leave his wife alone in Puerto Rico to work in the fields of New Jersey, he said. As he spoke, his voice cracked, and he looked down at the dirt, as an impending storm shook barren peach trees on an 80-acre farm in Elk Township, Gloucester County. "What can I do?" he asked in Spanish. "We all want to go home but we don't have the money. " Ramos is one of at least 3,000 Puerto Ricans, depending on estimates, who work as migrant farm workers in South Jersey from April to as late as December.
May 15, 1998 |
Lt. Ed Zunino steps out of the courthouse in Kennett Square into the gray drizzle, hunches his shoulders, and lights a cigarette. Behind him, Gustavo Rodriguez, a mushroom packer attacked in March, looks up expectantly. "You're sure he understands, right?" Zunino asks social worker Guillermo Rivera, who is translating. "He's going to have to pick the guy out of a lineup and come back again to testify. " Rivera translates. Rodriguez frowns. "I feel sorry for the guy. It's a damn shame," Zunino says angrily.
November 13, 1996 |
Seasonal Migrations, which Foundation Theatre is premiering, is about migrant workers, but the four plays are not about their plight. The nearest playwright Louise Wigglesworth gets to contemporary in these short plays, set in various years in the same migrant worker's cabin, is 1959, and if there's trouble down on the farm you'd never know it from these pieces. Wigglesworth is interested in the workers' personal stories and, for the most part, they are tales that compel interest in spite of their flaws.
May 26, 1999 |
Wilson Lee Nieves, 28, the final suspect to be sentenced in connection with a string of robberies in southern Chester County against migrant workers in 1997, yesterday received 21 to 42 months in prison and 10 years' probation. Nieves, of Avondale, entered an open guilty plea in April to one count of robbery and five counts of criminal conspiracy for serving as the driver in seven robberies. Nieves was not involved in the commission of the robberies, according to prosecutors, but drove the others to and from the migrant workers' homes.