A Farmworkers Bill of Rights

Counterpunch – Jul 22, 2019 – KARL GROSSMAN

Cuomo signs bill granting labor rights to farm workers

Passage of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices, also being called the Farmworkers Bill of Rights, by the New York State Legislature at its recent session was among its most notable achievements this year.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law on July 16th declaring: “This new law is not just a great achievement in terms of the effect on the human condition, it’s also a milestone in the crusade for social justice. By signing this bill into law, 100,000 farmers and their families will have better lives and will finally have the same protections that other workers have enjoyed for over 80 years.”

The law will take effect on the start of the new year.

The treatment of farmworkers has been a huge scandal in the United States.

Involved has been the area in which I live, in Suffolk County which covers the eastern portion of Long Island. Suffolk has been and continues to be a leading agricultural county in New York State.

Farmworkers—many of them migrant farmworkers lured by phony promises—have been excluded from basic laws in the U.S. among them those on housing and work. The New York legislation will give them rights including overtime pay, voting to unionize, having at least one day off a week and receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

“Today is the culmination of a decades-long fight centered upon one simple premise: that farmworkers deserve fairness, equality and justice,” said New York AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento upon legislative passage of the measure.

State Senator Jessica Ramos of Elmurst, Queens, who sponsored the bill and chairs the Senate’s Labor Committee, said upon Cuomo signing it that “today we are recognizing farmworkers as the backbone of New York’s multi-billion dollar agricultural industry and acknowledging the dignity in their work.”

The legislation has, she said, “lingered” in the New York State Senate “for 20 years, with seven sponsors on both sides of the aisle. I am proud…to be the eighth and last sponsor of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act. I have traveled to seven counties in New York, visited 14 farms, talked to countless farmworkers, and held three hearings on this bill….Farmworkers must be granted rights just as any other worker in New York.”

The governor signed the bill at the offices of the New York Daily Newswhich crusaded for its enaction.

Every semester in my four decades of teaching an Environmental Journalism class at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury I show the students Edward R. Murrow’s TV documentary, “Harvest of Shame” about the plight of farmworkers broadcast on CBS in 1960.

“We present this report on Thanksgiving because were it not for the labor of the people you are going to meet, you might not starve, but your table would not be laden with the luxuries that we have all come to regard as essential,” declared Murrow, the preeminent U.S. broadcast journalist of his era, standing in a farm field. “They are the migrants, workers in the sweatshops of the soil—the harvest of shame,” says Murrow. They are “the forgotten people.”

The documentary—which can be viewed on YouTube—leaves students shocked. Their jaws drop as they hear farmworkers who believed the promises of crew leaders who recruited them to harvest crops, are charged for all sorts of things and become indebted, trapped in migrant farm work. The housing and work conditions shown are outrageous.

Shown, too, are the terrible journeys. “Produce en route to the tables of America by trailer is refrigerated to prevent bruising,” says Murrow. “Cattle carried to market, by federal regulation, must be watered, fed and rested for five hours every 24 hours. People—men, women and children—are carried to the fields…in journeys as long as four days and three nights. They often ride ten hours without stopping for food or facilities.”

A minister, Rev. Michael Cassidy, who travels with migrant farmworkers trying to help them, says: “Only in name they are not a slave. But in the way they are treated, they are worse than slaves.”

My students are appalled to hear a farmer declare: “I guess they got a little gypsy in their blood. They just like it. Lot of ‘em wouldn’t do anything else. Lot of ‘em don’t know anything different. They don’t have a worry in the world. They’re happier than we are. Today they eat. Tomorrow they don’t worry about. They’re the happiest race of people on Earth.”

Suffolk County figures in “Harvest of Shame.” As a journalist based on Long Island since 1962, I’ve gotten my lumps on the farmworker story. Then New York State Assemblyman Andrew Stein of Manhattan inspected migrant farmworker camps in Suffolk in 1971. He was pressing for protections for them under state law.

“The conditions here are feudal,” said Mr. Stein as noted in an article in The New York Times by David Andelman, now a CNN commentator and author. “People live like indentured servants. This is not the kind of thing we want to have in New York State.”

The article continued: “At the first camp Mr. Stein visited here, the assemblyman, his party and accompanying newsmen were driven from the camp by a man the police said was the owner, William Chudiak. Mr. Stein was speaking with a migrant worker when Mr. Chudiak drove up in a pick-up truck. He grabbed a camera belonging to Karl H. Grossman, a reporter for the Long Island Press, and pushed and struck him.” (The Cutchogue camp was featured in “Harvest of Shame.”)

My students find it hard to believe that the outrageous conditions in “Harvest of Shame” continue. I present more recent journalism. On the 50th anniversary of “Harvest of Shame,” CBS correspondent Byron Pitts did a follow-up and, as The Atlantic noted, what he saw “was the same ugly dynamic that had existed during Murrow’s visits, the same cycle of brutal work, deplorable conditions…”

Murrow’s broadcast ended with his saying: “The migrants have no lobby. Only an enlightened, aroused and perhaps angered public opinion can do anything about the migrants. The people you have seen have the strength to harvest your fruits and vegetables. They do not have the strength to influence legislation. Maybe we do.”

I moderated a program on Long Island television with Cesar Chavez, leader of the United Farm Workers union, when he visited Suffolk in 1992. He emphasized the need for broad action to end the nightmare for farmworkers.

Decades later, the New York State action is great and important but national action, by the U.S. government and other state governments, is called for—and critically needed.

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, commented on the signing of the state bill that it “sets right 80 years of wrongs done by a racist, Jim Crow-era laws that denied farmworkers basic rights. Farmworkers have toiled for too long in dangerous conditions, vulnerable to exploitation. The NYCLU is proud to stand today with the governor and legislative leaders to ensure farmworkers have the right to organize, a day of rest, overtime pay, and more. These protections come at an important moment for immigrant farmworkers. As President Trump does all he can to advance his agenda of cruelty, our state is showing that all New Yorkers are worthy of respect, dignity, and rights.”

Cuomo also hit on the latter point at the signing. He commented: “This powerful and practical achievement is even more significant in the era of President Trump who continually diminishes workers’ rights, attacks labor unions, disrespects the disenfranchised and has made divide and conquer, rather than unify and grow, the credo of America.”

Farmworkers—all over the United States—must be granted rights just as any other worker in the U.S. That’s long, long overdue.

SOURCE

Fukushima Nuclear Meltdowns Are 800,000 Times WorsE Than Chernobyl Just Ask The Emaciated Whales (72 min)

Dana Durnford – July 16, 2019 – Video 72 min

Learn all the basic of Fukushima nuclear meltdown in one show , share with everyone , download before its removed from the internet !! The thumb nail are both official pictures of reactor 4 only one is real can you guess what one ? ! Fukushima nuclear meltdowns are infinitely worst than all nuclear bombs and Chernobyl combined . Mass die off aka beaching standings of whales seals sea lions dolphins etc etc etc continue . The two things they all have in common is they are emaciated and radiated .

SOURCE 1 – Youtube

SOURCE 2 – CCFSH Cloud

‘A Total Disgrace’: Outrage as Trump EPA Says It Won’t Ban Pesticide Linked to Brain Damage in Children

Common Dreams – Jul 19, 2019 – Jake Johnson

“The EPA is endangering the lives of children to protect pesticide industry profits.”

Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler speaking in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In a move environmentalists denounced as yet another case of the Trump administration putting industry profits over public health, the Environmental Protection Agency announced on Thursday that it will not ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to brain damage in children.

“By allowing chlorpyrifos to stay in our fruits and vegetables, Trump’s EPA is breaking the law and neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence that this pesticide harms children’s brains,” Patti Goldman, attorney with Earthjustice said in a statement. “It is a tragedy that this administration sides with corporations instead of children’s health.”

EPA chief Andrew Wheeler’s decision to reject a petition by environmental groups calling for a ban on the neurotoxic chemical ignores the assessments of his agency’s own scientists, saidTiffany Finck-Haynes, pesticides and pollinators program manager for Friends of the Earth.

“The EPA’s refusal to ban chlorpyrifos ignores decades of science showing that this pesticide has irrevocable effects on human health and the environment,” said Finck-Haynes. “The EPA is endangering the lives of children to protect pesticide industry profits.”

Chlorpyrifos has been banned for household use since 2000, but the pesticide is still used by farmers on “more than 50 fruit, nut, cereal, and vegetable crops,” according tothe New York Times.

“In 2016,” the Times reported, “more than 640,000 acres were treated with chlorpyrifos in California alone.”

The Obama administration in 2015 proposed banning use of the pesticide on food crops, but former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt authorized its continued use in 2017.

“This is a total disgrace,” Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.) tweeted in response to the EPA’s decision on Thursday.

Finck-Haynes of Friends of the Earth said that as the federal government continues to work on behalf of chemical interests, states must take immediate action to protect the public and the environment.

“While the federal government refuses to act, we urge states to step in, ban chlorpyrifos, and demonstrate that they will safeguard public health and the environment,” said Finck-Haynes. “We call on [New York] Governor [Andrew] Cuomo to sign the chlorpyrifos ban bill sitting on his desk and protect New Yorkers from this toxic pesticide.”

In a statement on Thursday, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) highlighted the Trump administration’s ties to Dow Chemical, the largest producer of chlorpyrifos in the United States.

“The relationship between President Trump and Dow Chemical… has been called into question,” the group said. “Among other things, the chemical manufacturing giant reportedly donated $1 million for Trump’s inauguration, and its CEO previously played a chief advisory role to the president, heading up his now defunct American Manufacturing Council.”

Erik Olson, senior director of health and food at NRDC, said the effort to achieve a ban on chlorpyrifos will continue.

“Until EPA gets this stuff out of our fields and off our food,” said Olson, “this fight is not over.”

SOURCE

True cost of cheap food is health and climate crises, says commission

The Guardian – Jul 16, 2019 – Damian Carrington

The commission said agriculture produced more than 10% of the UK’s climate-heating gases and was the biggest destroyer of wildlife Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

The true cost of cheap, unhealthy food is a spiralling public health crisis and environmental destruction, according to a high-level commission. It said the UK’s food and farming system must be radically transformed and become sustainable within 10 years.

The commission’s report, which was welcomed by the environment secretary, Michael Gove, concluded that farmers must be enabled to shift from intensive farming to more organic and wildlife friendly production, raising livestock on grass and growing more nuts and pulses. It also said a National Nature Service should be created to give opportunities for young people to work in the countryside and, for example, tackle the climate crisis by planting trees or restoring peatlands.

“Our own health and the health of the land are inextricably intertwined [but] in the last 70 years, this relationship has been broken,” said the report, which was produced by leaders from farming, supermarket and food supply businesses, as well as health and environment groups, and involved conversations with thousands of rural inhabitants.

“Time is now running out. The actions that we take in the next 10 years are critical: to recover and regenerate nature and to restore health and wellbeing to both people and planet,” said the commission, which was convened by the RSA, a group focused on pressing social challenges.

The commission said most farmers thought they could make big changes in five to 10 years if they got the right backing.

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Medicinal properties of mulberry may prove effective in treating diabetes mellitus

Natural News – Monday, July 15, 2019 by: Stephanie Diaz

In this review, researchers from different universities in China systematically summarized the chemical composition and medicinal properties of mulberry, which is used to treat diabetes. This article was published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

  • Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a serious metabolic disorder that affects numerous people all over the world.
  • Traditional herbal medicines are still widely used today to treat and prevent DM despite the developments in modern medicine.
  • Asian countries consider traditional herbal medicines as important therapeutic treatments for DM.
  • For centuries, China has used mulberry to treat DM.
  • Numerous preclinical findings have demonstrated the potential of mulberry as an alternative treatment for DM.
  • According to studies, the active components of mulberry that make it medicinal include polyhydroxylated alkaloids, flavonoids, and polysaccharides.
  • The researchers systematically reviewed the biological activities of mulberry on DM, in particular, its effects on glucose absorption, insulin production and secretion, oxidation, and inflammation.
  • They also discussed the challenges, opportunities, and the direction of future research on mulberry, as well as the potential for developing mulberry into pharmaceuticals for the treatment of DM.

The researchers hope that further research can be made on mulberry so that its therapeutic potential can be fully utilized for the treatment of DM.

For more information about natural medicines that can stop diabetes, visit PreventDiabetes.news.

SOURCE

ORGANIC CREATES 30,000 NEW JOBS IN SPAIN IN JUST FIVE YEARS

Natural Products – Jim Manson -July 5, 2019

Supermarket giant Carrefour had a major presence at the Madrid show, emphasizing the key role in growing organics being played by conventional retail.

AN EXPANSION OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IN SPAIN GENERATED 30,000 NEW JOBS BETWEEN 2013-2018 AND CONTINUES TO CREATE NEW JOBS AT A RATE OF 500 A WEEK. 

The striking figures were revealed by Javier Maté, general deputy director of Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, in comments given to journalists ahead of last month’s inaugural Organic Food Iberia event in Madrid. 

Maté sees expansion of Spain’s organic sector as an investment in the future that will deliver “important economic value and opportunities for numerous families across many regions”.

Maté praised the new trade event, commenting that it created the opportunity “to unite producers, suppliers and distributors in one place”, adding that such a showcase would help to further enhance the organic industry’s prospects, which continues to deliver double digit growth in Spain. 

Speaking at the event itself, Fernando Miranda, secretary general of the Ministry of Agriculture, commented on the growing domestic market for organics in Spain, helped by the increasing availability of organic in mainstream retail. In fact, he said, organic sales in the conventional retail channel had this year exceeded that of the specialist channel for there first time.

Miranda emphasized organic’s strategic role as part of Spain’s agricultural mix, commenting that it delivered on the triple pillars of “quality, added value and environmental sustainability”.

Spain’s organic market is currently worth around EUR2.2 billion, up 10% on 2018. Around 475,000 Spanish citizens consume organic every week. 

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