Justice for Farm Workers Fired After Protesting Migrant Death

Target: Cliff Woolley, Chief Administrative Officer of Sarbanand Farms

Goal: Deliver back pay and provide visa assistance to fired farm workers.

A group of around 70 migrant farm workers say they have been fired after protesting the death of one of their colleagues. Mexican migrant worker Honesto Silva Ibarra allegedly fell ill while working at Sarbanand Farms in Washington State, according to the Lynden Tribune. He was reportedly rushed to the hospital, where he later died. The Lynden Tribune has further reported that fellow workers have alleged Silva was sick for days before his death, but his employers didn’t do enough to help him seek medical attention.

“For us, it was very unjust that he was left by himself without any kind of support,” co-worker Barbaro Rosas Olibares told the newspaper. The workers also reportedly stated they worked long hours in poor conditions and were discouraged from taking sick days.

Silva himself reportedly tried to return to Mexico shortly before his death, but was unable to fly, according to workers. According to Olibares, this was because his visa had expired, and Sarbanand Farms hadn’t provided new documents for Silva and possibly other migrants. In response, the migrants carried out a one-day work stoppage at the farm, demanding better conditions and more information on what happened to Silva. The farm has since been accused of reacting by simply firing the protesters.

Now, the fired workers say they have been left homeless, jobless and without visas. They even say the farm has yet to give them back pay they’re allegedly owed.  For now, all they want is their pay and their visas renewed so they can find new work. Sign this petition to demand Sarbanand Farms concede to these meager demands.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Woolley,

Around 70 former Sarbanand Farms workers say they have been left homeless, penniless and without visas simply because they protested the death of a fellow migrant. These workers say conditions at Sarbanand Farms were poor and have demanded more information on what happened to Honesto Silva Ibarra. They claim Silva complained for days before his death, but his employers didn’t do enough to help him seek medical attention.

This in itself is a serious allegation, yet to make matters even worse, roughly 70 fired workers now say they haven’t been able to get hold of back pay they say the farm owes them. All they want is this pay and new visas so they can move on with their lives. We urge the farm to concede to these demands and deliver any outstanding pay, while ensuring the fired workers have the documentation they need to find work elsewhere.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Holger Hubbs

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2 Comments

  1. It’s disgusting the way the farm treated these migrants. Apparently, migrant farm workers (here in Canada too) are often treated like slaves, having to do hard work for long hours, and little pay.
    I’m wondering how the farms can get away with such terrible abuse. Is there no legal help for these workers?

  2. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    stop firing them!

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