If I may lift a line from Humphrey Bogart's stunning portrayal of Captain Queeg in the " Caine Mutiny"  Apparently we have some Captain Queeg's in California's agricultural industry.....follow me ....you won't believe it....

I know workers rights and wages have gone steadily downhill over the last 30 years but I didn't realize we had gone down this far!!

More than a dozen farmworkers in the strawberry fields in Oxnard, Ca.  were fired for fleeing a southern california wildfire!

"As the blaze, dubbed the spring fire, continued to grow in Camarillo May 2, farmworkers 11 miles south in Oxnard said they started to feel the effects of the smoke in the strawberry fields.

"The ashes were falling on top of us", one of them explained, "making it hard for us to breathe"

Air quality in the region was at dangerously poor levels and 15 workers at Crisalida Farms decided they couldn't take it any longer. They left even though the foreman warned they would not have jobs when they returned.

When they got back to the fields May 3 the farm fired them


Now I like strawberrys probably more than anyone else (I eat them every day, usually in the blender with yogurt, milk and protein), but I don't want it at the cost of someone's life!

This truly is a microcosim of the plight of labor in this country.  The worker is expendable...The product and the profit are of utmost importance!

Now this story has a somewhat happy ending.  The union stepped in ( thank god for Unions!!)  They used a clause in the contract that states no worker shall be forced to work in unsafe conditions.   The Crisalida Farm relented and offered all 15 workers their jobs back..  All but one declined , having obtained jobs elsewhere ( no doubt at more safe locations)

Can we stop treating bankers , wall streeters and financial wizards as kings.....while we treat real workers like Serfs!!!

Originally posted to tvdude on Thu May 09, 2013 at 03:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Invisible People.

Your Email has been sent.