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11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.09 Rainforest destruction from gold mining hits all-time high in Peru

11.09 A new way to make steel could cut 5% of CO2 emissions at a stroke

11.08 Medicaid’s stunning victory

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11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]

11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]

11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]

11.15 Big Oil v the planet is the fight of our lives. Democrats must choose a side

11.14 The Real Florida Recount Fraud

11.14 Telling NRA #ThisIsOurLane, Doctors' Photos Show Blood-Soaked Reality of America's Gun Madness

11.14 At Freshman Orientation, Young and Growing Progressive Caucus Makes Clear It Will 'Fight Like Hell' for Bold Democratic Agenda

11.13 'You Sound Nervous': Gillum Mocks Trump as President Demands End to Florida Recount

11.13 Kyrsten Sinema wins Arizona Senate race in breakthrough for Democrats

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11.09 Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally [Making America Less Great Again...]

High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

11.10 US stops refuelling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft in Yemen war [But there are a few children still alive. It's too soon!]

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11.14 Brexit: May tells her cabinet, this is the deal – now back me

11.11 Tax reform: down with the ‘stepped-up basis’

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11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]

11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]

11.14 Israel and Hamas launch hundreds of attacks in Gaza clash

11.14 Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says

11.13 Austin's Fix for Homelessness: Tiny Houses, and Lots of Neighbors

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11.13 Caravan marks one month on the road: ‘We keep on going, laughing or crying’

11.13 Letter Shows Einstein’s Prescient Concerns About ‘Dark Times’ in Germany

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  Maryland is Indebted to César Chávez’s Legacy
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SPEAKING OUT:

Maryland is Indebted to César Chávez’s Legacy

by Daniela Dwyer
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Through Chávez’s union, and in conjunction with community and legal services advocates, many improvements in farmworkers' rights have been achieved.
Why should Maryland declare March 31 César Chávez Day?

Although the efforts of Chávez, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, focused primarily on the West Coast, he influenced farmworker unions to form in Texas and Ohio—and his impact continues to be felt in smaller agricultural states such as Maryland.

In 2000, the Federal Department of Labor’s National Agricultural Worker Study (NAWS) found that approximately 10,000 migrant workers reside annually in Maryland. Many of the migrant workers are lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens who arrive from other states, such as Florida and Texas.

An additional 1,000 farmworkers perform agricultural work in Maryland through lawful participation in a federal guest-worker visa program.

Regardless of lawful immigration status, the vast majority of farmworkers in Maryland face harsh living and working conditions, both of which remain largely dictated by their employers.

Today’s migrant farmworkers remain generally non-English speaking, are often destitute due to low wage rates and high levels of wage non-payment, work in America’s second-most dangerous occupation, and are geographically isolated from most social services.

Through Chávez’s union, and in conjunction with community and legal services advocates, many improvements in farmworkers' rights have been achieved.

Migrant workers remain a population extremely vulnerable to exploitation.

For example, in 1975, Chávez was instrumental in working with California Rural Legal Assistance to obtain a decision from the California Supreme Court banning the “short-handled hoe” as an Unfair Labor Tool. However, migrant workers remain a population extremely vulnerable to exploitation.

Through its statewide outreach, Maryland Legal Aid has witnessed the long hours temporary migrant workers are required to perform. There are migrant workers in every Maryland county.

Maryland’s robust seasonal economies demonstrate that migrant workers in the agricultural, crab, landscaping and hospitality industries come at local employers’ requests to perform hard, necessary work.

Crab house, horse and dairy workers often begin work at sunrise; pack house, nursery and field workers often end long after sunset. Almost all lack health benefits, sick days or personal leave, much less paid leave.

Farmworkers in Maryland would be unlikely to receive any leave on March 31st if it were declared a day of commemoration. Nevertheless, the symbolic recognition of Chávez’s efforts to improve their living and working conditions is broadly inspiring.

Designating March 31st as César Chávez Day will provide an important opportunity for all Marylanders to reflect upon workers’ contributions and the holiday’s call to service towards others.

Last year, President (then Senator) Obama stated on Mar. 31, 2008, in the Los Angeles Times that, “As farmworkers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what César Chávez accomplished so many years ago ... [a]nd we should honor him for what he's taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation. It's time to recognize the contributions of this American icon to the ongoing efforts to perfect our union.”

America at its best is not the history of a few, but the stories of us all. Maryland gave birth to our national anthem, and has always been a vital part of American history. It should join the charge to remember all of our nation’s heroes.

I urge Maryland to join President Obama in remembering the unsung legacy of César Chávez.


Daniela Dwyer is supervising attorney of Maryland Legal Aid's Farmworker Program.



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This story was published on April 1, 2009.
 

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