Farmworkers protest in Santa Maria, demand better wages and working conditions

April 29, 2024


More than 100 people demonstrated in Santa Maria on Sunday in support of Central Coast farmworkers and their efforts to obtain better wages and working conditions. [KSBY]

Demonstrators marched and held signs with slogans that included “a decent salary” and “decent wages now.” The event doubled as a May Day celebration.

Isabel Lopez, a farmworker who has picked strawberries in Santa Maria for more than 25 years, participated in the march, along withe her daughter. Wages are very low, and they do not have enough money for rent, Lopez said. 

Other farmworkers say they face discrimination and mistreatment by their companies, in addition to low wages.

A recent study by the organizations Central Coast United for A Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) and Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP) found farmworkers in Santa Barbara County earn an average hourly wage of $17.42. By comparison, heavy truck drivers earn an average wage of $26.76.

CAUSE organized Sunday’s demonstration. The group says it encourages local officials to support better working conditions for farmworkers.

“Farm labor has a really high injury and mortality rate, very similar to the injury and mortality rates compared to construction and truck driving,” Erica Diaz Cervantes, Senior Policy Advocate with CAUSE, said in a statement.


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If I never eat another strawberry, will they all leave?

rather have my tax dollars go to making these folks citizens vs the pockets of DoD contractors, CEO and corporate entities labeled as people, and proped up genocidal governments the USA backs to make a small portion rich. slave wage and labor is, just that. like a slum lord, or an LLC. as we see here on the threads, you can’t make people have morals or empathy for human life or our planet. Takes a tragedy to touch someone to gain Empathy, even though most, are born with it. naturalize these people. there used to be government agencies here that made sure greedy farmers treated people well, farmers voted in politicians to disband it.

also, grow your own. industrial ag is as finite as clean water. I honestly like good tasting local food, but, not everyone has a good sense of taste.

Comparing skilled labor (heavy truck driver) to unskilled farm labor is like comparing an airline pilot to a uber driver.

They deserve the same amount of respect and fair treatment. They all have my gratitude

Irony…. With the border being open the competition for these jobs just got stiffer…. new undocumented migrants will work for less…

I see a couple of insulting previous comments regarding the right of the people who do hard labor to put food on our tables having the right to expect to be treated fairly. I find it impossible to imagine how anyone could justify to themselves that such behavior is in any way appropriate, let alone humane. I would suggest to anyone who disrespects those who actually feed the rest of us to get a life.

Menial labor is vital to our economy. it should be treated as such. Everyone deserves a fair wage and healthy working conditions. Follow the golden rule: treating others as you want to be treated.

The CAUSE and MICOP organizations are both extreme left, socialist organizations, and they do not have the U.S.’s best interest at heart.

The technology is now available to replace these workers with robots, and robots don’t strike for higher wages.

Robots have a difficult time picking strawberries, which is the major crop harvested in the Santa Maria Valley. Seems they have trouble distinguishing between ripe and unripe berries. They are generally only used in the picking of berries for jellies and jams.

Now lettuce and broccoli are a different story—robots can be adjusted to have just the perfect grip to not damage the vegetables. Unfortunately, these machines are very costly and need constant servicing—the cost of technicians would be far more than menial farm hands.

Manual harvesting is still the most efficient and cost worthy way to do it. Farmers in the valley are making plenty of profits and they can certainly afford to kick wages to over $20 an hour for their workers. Strawberries alone bring in close to a billion dollars in revenue.

Come to the US legally. Learn a skill other than backbreaking and menial labor. Then you can pay your rent.

Learn a skill other than backbreaking and menial labor. Then you can pay your rent.”

Most of these folks who grew up in poverty in Mexico or Central America did not have the privilege of learning a skill, but they are giving their children and grandchildren that right. Studies show that third generation children of immigrants reach educational parity with native-born Americans. If you’d like more about this, read the study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine:

Yeah, well, tough. Come here LEGALLY (the left always seems to ignore that suggestion), and work your little heart out.

So, there is no need for agricultural labor in Mexico and other Central & South American countries? There is a widespread fallacious belief that tens or even hundreds of millions of International Criminal Trespassers are entitled to violate U.S. Law and American sovereignty to seek the “American Dream”. That belief couldn’t be more hypocritical and racist because it ignores the obvious humanitarian goal and truth that folks growing up in poverty fully deserve and should be able to pursue the “El Salvadoran Dream”, the “Honduran Dream”, or the “Mexican Dream”, etc. It is arrogant, unrealistic and unsustainable to expect the United States is one of the very few places on the planet where impoverished folks must be located in order to have their children & grandchildren become educated, learn a skill, and attain the decent quality of life that educational & economic parity makes possible. The majority of nation states within the Family of Nations, Civilization itself and certainly the United States of America is doomed if the only hope for a huge percentage of the world’s population is to be a legal, or illegal, resident of America while chasing the “American Dream”.

To quote a great man:

“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”

Too bad that sentiment has been lost on many Americans.

Too bad that sentiment has been lost on most of the world’s population. There’s plenty of room on this planet for many “shining cities on the hill”. Unfortunately, there haven’t been enough enlightened, principled and courageous men to build them in other lands where they too would enjoy the blessings of Providence. The absence of will, rejection of God, conceited self-indulgence and failure to build such societies is telling. To think there can only exist just one “shining city” and that people everywhere dream of making the hard journey to reach it is sadly shameful and a disappointing testament to humanity’s failed imagination, wisdom and potential. Although, in fairness to all the good souls trying to do right with their lives and build a better world, it takes but just a very few wicked men favoring evil to disrupt the harmony & peace of the people and smash their plans for a more beautiful and better society. The savage bloody rape and massacre of Israeli civilian women, children and elderly by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023, is a perfect current example.

Definitely agree with those “sentiments.” I guess I’ll be called a racist for this but, the Palestinians controlled what is now Israel for hundreds of years and did nothing to improve the land. They were simply poor people trying to scratch out an existence led by thugs and savages. It took the Israelis less than 100 years to turn it into an oasis in the desert where families could thrive.

Nonetheless, I’m talking about America and my feeling is the more the merrier as long as they are vetted. The Biden Administration and Senate Republicans had a plan to do just that and get control of the border. It failed because of a nasty minority of politicians who have taken over the Republican Party.

Yikes that sounds a little bit like someone who believes the native Americans don’t deserve to exist because they didn’t “improve the land”. The solution to Palestinian problem is VERY simple…. Israel needs to take over Gaza and West Bank and integrate the population into their own with full voting rights, just like we did in America. Failure to do so, because they’re trying to keep the state ethnically Jewish, is creating their own problems.