WA farmworkers fired for striking after coworker’s death

We are Working Washington


We often write you about the big issues facing workers across Washington. Today, I’m writing to make sure you heard this important story about a group of workers who are often overlooked: the thousands of farmworkers who pick berries and harvest vegetables all over our state.

Honesto Silva Ibarra was a 28-year-old father of three from Mexico who was working as a blueberry picker in Sumas, Washington — a small town in Whatcom County, just south of the Canadian border.

Honesto died on Sunday at Harborview Medical Center. According to his coworkers, before he was hospitalized, his supervisor at Sarbanand Farms ignored his complaints about headaches, telling him to return to work in the fields rather than providing him with medical care.

Honesto was one of about 15,000 farmworkers in Washington state on a temporary work visa this year — the H-2A visa, which allows workers to stay in the U.S. for short periods of time while performing seasonal farm work.

Dozens of Honesto’s coworkers went on strike last Friday, protesting his treatment as well as the alleged lack of healthy food, cold water, and fair working conditions on the farm. But when they returned to work on Saturdaythey say they were immediately fired — and not only that, they were kicked out of their legally mandated farmworker housing. Left without homes or valid work visas to transfer elsewhere, more than 70 farmworkers are now sleeping in tents on a community member’s lawn while they decide what to do next.

Click here to share the story on Facebook or Twitter, and then donate what you can so we can send supplies the farmworkers have requested to the encampment.

This week, farmworkers have been coordinating with local organizations Community to Community Development and Familias Unidas por La Justicia to get food, tents, and other supplies for the encampment from community members, and to set up marches to fight back against Sarbanand’s unfair treatment of workers.

Honesto’s story reveals a lot more than a single injustice against a single worker. Other workers at Sarbanand report being threatened with being sent back to Mexico if they complain about their conditions, and being discouraged from taking sick days. Farmworkers are frequently the target of inhumane employers, and many immigrant workers fear the consequences of raising health and safety concerns with employers.

That’s why it’s vital that we in Washington support all workers across our state — including temporary agricultural workers like Honesto and his coworkers.

Share the Sumas farmworkers’ story on Facebook and Twitter to make sure your friends & family hear this important story from some of our state’s most targeted workers.

And if you want to support the encampment of Sarbanand farmworkers who were fired, click here to donate so we can send them supplies like tents, sleeping bags, and food.

Thank you,
Emily, Working Washington


Trump dishonors vets who died fighting Nazis and Confederacy




I am a Marine, an Iraq War Veteran, and most importantly, an American. And I reject and condemn any and all forms of white supremacy, Nazism, and fascism.

With the exception of the parts about serving his country, I can’t for the life of me understand why that is so difficult for Donald Trump to say.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives fighting the hateful ideologies that fueled yesterday’s protests and subsequent violence in Virginia. The president dishonors their memories with his “many sides” response to yesterday’s domestic terrorist attack.

We are going to fight this president tooth and nail. We are going to elevate the voices of veterans who are willing to speak out against his domestic policies, his foreign policy, and his hateful ideology. But we can’t do it alone:

Chip in $3 to VoteVets today to help us continue to lead the fight against Donald Trump and his policies that move our nation backward and put American lives at risk.

I watched in horror as people were walking around Virginia yesterday wearing MAGA hats, waving Nazi flags, and carrying assaults weapons. In broad daylight. We have to be better than this, but as long as Donald Trump is president, I fear we will not be.

If Trump really wanted to Make America Great Again, he’d take the first and most important step toward that goal: he’d resign today.

Will Fischer
Iraq War Veteran and Director of Government Relations

on this day 8/13

1521 – Present day Mexico City was captured by Spanish conqueror Hernando Cortez from the Aztec Indians.

1704 – The Battle of Blenheim was fought during the War of the Spanish Succession, resulting in a victory for English and Austrian forces.

1792 – French revolutionaries took the entire French royal family and imprisoned them.

1784 – The United States Legislature met for the final time in Annapolis, MD

1846 – The American Flag was raised for the first time in Los Angeles, CA. 

1876 – The Reciprocity Treaty between the U.S. and Hawaii was ratified. 

1889 – A patent for a coin-operated telephone was issued to William Gray.

1912 – The first experimental radio license was issued to St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, PA.

1931 – The first community hospital in the U.S. was dedicated in Elk City, OK.

1932 – Adolf Hitler refused to take the post of vice-chancellor of Germany. He said he was going to hold out “for all or nothing.”

1934 – Al Capp’s comic strip “L’il Abner” made its debut in newspapers.

1942 – Henry Ford unveiled his “Soybean Car.” It was a plastic-bodied car that weighed about 1000 lbs. less than a steel car.

1942 – Walt Disney’s “Bambi” opened at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, NY.
Disney movies, music and books

1959 – In New York, ground was broken on the $320 million Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

1960 – “Echo I,” a balloon satellite, allowed the first two-way telephone conversation by satellite to take place.

1961 – Berlin was divided by a barbed wire fence to halt the flight of refugees. Two days later work on the Berlin Wall began.

1979 – Lou Brock (St. Louis Cardinals) got his 3,000th career hit.

1986 – United States Football League standout Herschel Walker signed to play with the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League.

1990 – Iraq transferred $3-4 billion in bullion, currency, and other goods seized from Kuwait to Baghdad.

1994 – It was reported that aspirin not only helps reduce the risk of heart disease, but also helps prevent colon cancer.