UFW, Wages

Farm Workers Abandoned after Refusing to Work for Next to Nothing

From KIMATV.com, Hayley Guenthner, 2 Nov 2011.

MATTAWA, WA — Nearly 60 farm workers from the Tri-Cities claim they were stranded Wednesday after refusing to work for less than minimum wage in Mattawa.

The workers tell Action News they were bused to a Stemilt Grower’s Apple Orchard, where they were told they’d only make roughly $25 for about four to five hours of work. When they refused to pick for that amount, they say they were left without a way to get back to the Tri-Cities.

“It’s completely outrageous,” said Gorge Valenzuela with United Farm Workers. “You have workers with no way home. They had to walk an hour and a half just to get to the street so they could wave at cars to find a way home, which is an hour and half away.”

“It feels horrible,” said farm worker, Cirillo Ramirez. “We’ve been here since seven a.m., and we haven’t been able to go home.”

We contacted Stemilt to get their side. Managers said they didn’t know about the problem until later in the afternoon, and if they’d known sooner, they would have helped get the workers home. The company said they do guarantee minimum wage to all workers.

Source: KIMATV.com, “Farm workers abandoned after refusing to work for next to nothing” by Hayley Guenthner, 2 Nov 2011.

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