SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Decade after decade these farm workers say that they have worked themselves to the bone so that people can have food on their tables.
"Ever since I was a little girl 10-years-old, I worked in the fields. I had the opportunity to have another job but it was already instilled in me. Like they say. Once a farmworker, always a farmworker. We have it in our blood too," said Eugenia Gonzalez, a farm worker from Fresno County.
Gonzalez, from Mexico, is a Farmworker who over 24 days marched over 500 miles from Delano to Sacramento.
She says, in Spanish, that she's fighting for her union voting rights and those of her parents who are now suffering from the after effects of working in the fields for decades.
"All they're asking for is an election free of intimidation. Free of any kind of fear of deportations and so forth,” Arturo Rodriguez, President-Emeritus of United Farm Workers. “That oftentimes supervisors and foremen and labor contractors will utilize against the farm workers to keep them from voting to join a union."
Many former field workers remember what it was like before they were protected by unions.
"We worked in the field as children. We'd fall from the trees. Break our leg and there was no compensation,” said Yolanda Barrera, a former worker. “If we needed to use facilities, there were no facilities. No water. No time out. No breaks. You know it was almost impossible to make a living."
They say the entire family, even children, would have to be out working in the field. Strides have been made to change this being the status quo.
Gonzales says she thinks of other field workers and she hopes Gov. Gavin Newson can do the same.
"Think of the people who don't have legal status. What are they going to do? Who is going to take care of them, if they don't have anyone? They're alone here just working,” said Gonzalez. “This is why I get like this. Because I'm not just thinking about myself, or my parents, but all the other workers."
Regardless of what Newsom votes, union leaders and farm workers say the fight doesn't stop here. They plan to continue pushing for their union voting rights to be met despite opposition.
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