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Farm workers begin march to Sacramento in support of voting rights bill

2022 United Farm Workers March
2022 United Farm Workers March
2022 United Farm Workers March
2022 United Farm Workers March
2022 United Farm Workers March
Roberto Bustos
United Farm Workers Flag
Delores Huerta (FILE)
Posted at 4:48 PM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 20:14:22-04

DELANO, Calif. (KERO) — Farm workers all across California embarked on a 24-day, 35-mile march from Delano to Sacramento. The march is to preserve union voting rights by having a bill signed that would allow California farm workers to vote whenever and wherever they feel safe.

Farm workers are marching to win the right to vote for a union free of intimidation and threat. It is to convince Governor Gavin Newsom to sign AB 2183, the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act.

“Si Se Puede” - "Yes You Can" - was a chant that filled the city of Delano on Wednesday. But this isn’t the first time a march like this has taken place.

Roberto Bustos
Roberto Bustos was one of the people who walked in the march in 1966, when a small group of farm workers alongside supporters caught the nation’s attention-demanding change for voter privacy.

Roberto Bustos was one of the people who walked in the march in 1966 when a small group of farm workers alongside supporters caught the nation’s attention-demanding change for voter privacy.

“Here right now is the first march from Delano to Sacramento in 1966. Seventy-seven of us started the march and every day it grew and grew. People joined. They wanted to go fight also the rights in their companies and go talk to the governor.”

Bustos told 23ABC that he was appointed by Cesar Chavez to lead the march and in August of 2022, he says that the same mission remains.

“We’re here still fighting for the rights of the farm workers because they kicked us out. They passed a lot of legislation, but the legislation included excluded clauses for the farmer workers. Why did you pass legislation that did not include farm workers? We are working hard, as hard as them. So why are they leaving us out of these laws?”

Expansion of voting options is at the forefront of this march. AB 2183 is intended to make it easier and safer for farm workers to cast their votes in union elections. The United Farm Workers say today farm workers must nearly always vote on grower property.

Delores Huerta (FILE)
Union and civil rights activist Delores Huerta.

Dolores Huerta, a local civil rights activist, says this day is a symbolic state effort in hopes of allowing farmers to get what she says they deserve – representation.

“We also want to give a message out there to the growers that it's time that they recognize the farm workers because they’re the ones that make them wealthy and they really deserve to have a union. They deserve to have a pension plan when they finish their work that they should have some money to retire so that their families and their children can be taken care of.”

Huerta adds she believes the farm workers want to do this march with goodwill. She was also alongside the supporters who took their voices to the streets in the 60s and is amazed at how the effort has grown.

“We have people here not only from Kern County, we have people here from all over the state of California and we know that this march is going to grow bigger and bigger as it goes throughout the state.”

On August 26th, the farmers that are walking in this march will finish the last mile to the state’s capital.