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Migrant Workers

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NEWS
July 18, 2005 | By Claudia Rodriguez-Zinn
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.
NEWS
June 30, 1988 | By Gerald B. Jordan, Inquirer Washington Bureau
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.
NEWS
May 17, 1987 | By Shelly Phillips, Special to The Inquirer
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.
NEWS
May 23, 1991 | By Richard A. Oppel Jr., Special to The Inquirer
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.
NEWS
August 19, 2004 | By Dwayne Campbell INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
April 5, 2000 | By Lisa Singhania, ASSOCIATED PRESS Inquirer staff writer Suzette Parmley contributed to this article
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.
NEWS
September 23, 1989 | By Patrisia Gonzales and Ralph Cipriano, Inquirer Staff Writers
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.
NEWS
May 15, 1998 | By Christina Asquith, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 13, 1996 | By Douglas J. Keating, INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
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.
NEWS
May 26, 1999 | By Adrienne Lu, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
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.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
July 26, 2015 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Could electronic cigarettes help millions of smokers kick their lethal addiction, saving lives and benefiting all of society? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's stated plan to begin regulating e-cigs this summer has renewed debate over tobacco "harm reduction. " The idea is that some smokers can't or won't quit, even if they want to. By replacing their cigarettes with e-cigs - which deliver nicotine but eliminate carbon monoxide, tar, and other toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke - they'll be better off, and so will the public.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 19, 2015
ABOUT a month ago, I watched the investigative reporter Edward R. Murrow's 1960 CBS documentary, "Harvest of Shame," which brought me to tears. Unprecedented in its day, the award-winning documentary aired on Thanksgiving and put up a mirror showing what poverty and the plight of farmworkers looked like, not in a third-world country, but right here at home. From the opening scene, I was riveted. It looked like an open lot for livestock and it was packed with African-American men and women looking for work.
NEWS
February 25, 2015 | BY BOB STEWART, Daily News Staff Writer stewarr@phillynews.com, 215-854-4890
A CLIMATE OF fear forced Ukrainian migrant workers to accept endless debt and slavery in Philadelphia and nearby locations, federal prosecutors alleged yesterday. "Workers were punched in the face, punched in the body, they were punched everywhere," Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Velez told a jury in closing arguments in the racketeering-conspiracy trial of two brothers in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. Velez said the defendants, Mykhaylo Botsvynyuk and Yaroslav Botsvynyuk - a/k/a Yaroslav Churuk - are "members of a criminal enterprise to smuggle Ukrainians" into the U.S. for "involuntary servitude.
FOOD
September 28, 2012 | By Craig LaBan, INQUIRER RESTAURANT CRITIC
HAMMONTON, N.J. - Long touted as "the blueberry capital of the world," this Pinelands town is rapidly gaining another distinction: taco capital of South Jersey. With no fewer than half a dozen restaurants and trucks dotting the downtown streetscape, Hammonton - just a short jaunt off the Atlantic City Expressway - has become a destination for those craving everything from a humble soul-food menudo stew to crispy tostadas de tinga or unapologetic Tex-Mex. And in a decidedly new chapter for this traditionally Italian agricultural enclave, the civic forces have lately embraced these Mexican kitchens as a much-needed jolt of energy to revitalize the downtown, helping to market businesses like Roberto Diaz's El Mariachi Loco to a wider audience.
NEWS
June 1, 2012 | By Todd Pitman and Yadana Htun, Associated Press
MAHACHAI, Thailand - Long a fighter against oppression inside Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has used her first foreign trip in 24 years to fight for her countrymen suffering abroad - millions of economic migrants unable to work at home but vulnerable to exploitation elsewhere. On Thursday, she pressed her concerns about the millions of Myanmar migrants living in Thailand in a meeting with the country's deputy prime minister. And for a second straight day, she addressed throngs of migrants in Mahachai, a town southwest of Bangkok that hosts more migrants from Myanmar than any other place in Thailand.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 13, 2012
STEIG'S WORLD "Comic Catharsis: A Gift of Cartoons by William Steig" puts 107 of the extraordinary New Yorker cartoonist's works on display. Through March 11 at Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-388-2700). $10. HULU KNEW? Hulu.com isn't just for reruns. The streaming-video site gets into scripted series with the premiere tomorrow of "Battleground," a mockumentary series about the staff of a struggling U.S. Senate campaign. Nothing groundbreaking here (and Leslie Knope's "Parks and Recreation" campaign is funnier)
NEWS
February 9, 2012 | By Edward Colimore, Inquirer Staff Writer
They'll start showing up next month on farms across New Jersey. Thousands of seasonal workers will plant fields and trim trees, then tend and harvest crops during the spring and summer. Up to 180 work at Joe Marino's Sun Valley Orchards in Swedesboro, Gloucester County, and many - including migrant farm hands from Mexico - earn $7.25 an hour, the state and federal minimum wage. They would see their paychecks increase under a proposal by Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D., Essex)
ENTERTAINMENT
September 27, 2010 | By Howard Gensler
THE LUNACY of what we pretend is government these days sank to another low with the appearance last week of Stephen Colbert before the House Judiciary Committee. His topic: Immigration. His expertise: He once stood next to hardworking fruit-pickers for a segment on his TV show. Our gripe isn't with Colbert, who cleverly brought his own brand of truthiness (and even a few truths) to the circus, such as his mock befuddlement that more Americans weren't clamoring to "begin an exciting career" in the fields.
NEWS
March 25, 2009 | By Art Carey INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
When Margarita Queralt Mirkil began her new job as executive director of La Comunidad Hispana, she turned her private office into a conference room and moved her desk out onto the open floor with the rest of the staff. "I didn't want to be cloistered," said Mirkil, who took over in September. "I wanted to be part of what's going on. " Sometimes, when the receptionist is away from her desk, Mirkil will field phone calls from clients herself. She doesn't mind at all. "It's why we're here," she said.
NEWS
October 2, 2007 | By Sally A. Downey INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Juan Avila, 56, of West Grove, a guitarist, singer-songwriter and social activist, died of cancer Thursday at home. Mr. Avila, the son of Mexican migrant workers, grew up in Texas. He started writing songs and playing guitar at 13. In his early 20s, he hitchhiked around the country with his guitar and sang his first paying gig in the French Quarter in New Orleans. At 24, he signed a songwriter's contract with Criterion Music in Hollywood. He moved to Philadelphia in the 1970s and cofounded Loaves and Fishes, a soup kitchen and spiritual refuge for the poor in Fairmount that was modeled after the Catholic Workers hospitality houses that social activist Dorothy Day established in New York.
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