April 28, 2015 - The Associated Press states that the average farm worker will make between $8-10 for a full 10-hour day of labor. Supporting yourself on such an income is difficult. Supporting your family on such an income is close to impossible. The Baja, California Mexican farm workers strike involves fifty thousand. Their strike is an aggressive method of protesting low wages, poor living/working conditions as well as general right abuses.
As the Mexican farm workers and the growers attempt to come together to resolve the issue, millions in crops have rotted in the field as the two play tug of war over the operations/property. It has been reported that workers have been witnessed throwing rocks and burning tires as they attempt to increase the attention given to the alleged mistreatment of the workers who farm millions of dollars worth of produce including strawberries and tomatoes in Baja. While the dispute was escalating, workers on strike blocked the main north-south highway and the Transpeninsular Highway. It’s also notable that additional strikes are breaking out in the surrounding area.
Workers are on strike demanding overtime pay, health care, water, breaks and time off. They also seek an end of arbitrary firings, and other abuses including sexual abuse. Workers (who are typically paid $8-10 per day) are requesting an increase to $20/day for long days in the sun or hothouse.
The farmers are being urged to return to work before the destruction of the crops leads to a destruction of jobs. Many could be affected by the ripple effect this would have on the region’s economy. During the course of the strike, over 200 protestors have been arrested for various activities including: riots, vandalism, rock-throwing, etc. To protect themselves and their livelihoods, businesses have boarded up their windows. More than 1,000 police officers have been dispersed throughout Baja, California area to control the situation.