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Farmworkers 2In anticipation of your Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, consider sharing this essay about the people who made it possible:

Safer food, farmworkers and families
By Fawn Pattison, Executive Director, Toxic Free NC

As we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner this week, many of us will say a prayer of thanks for the hardworking people who harvest our food. While we enjoy the harvest’s bounty, we also reflect on those who work hard in the fields, facing many dangers and often not earning enough to put food on the table themselves. That’s why Thanksgiving week is also designated as International Food Workers Week.

This week a coalition of farmworker supporters is launching a new campaign to keep farmworkers safe from one of the biggest hazards they face on the job: exposure to toxic pesticides.

Check out http://protectfarmworkers.org/ and add your name to the petition calling on the federal government to fix the outdated pesticide rules that are failing to keep workers – and us – safe from exposure on the job. Read More

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Farmworker pre-K(This post is part of a blog series on the crucial role of quality early childhood education and child care in caring for our youngest residents, creating thriving communities, and promoting a healthy economy. Read the introduction to this blog series and learn more about the programs we?ll be discussing here.)

By John Menditto

In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama announced a bold and ambitious plan to expand preschool services. The “Preschool for All” Initiative calls for $75 billion in new funding during the next decade to partner with states and help expand access to low- and middle-income children who are not currently enrolled in preschool programs.

Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has been tireless in his advocacy for this new, national initiative. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Secretary Duncan as part of a small coalition of community-based groups who serve the Latino community and ask him how the Administration would make sure that the Preschool for All Initiative did not exclude by its design the preschool-aged children of migrant farm workers. Secretary Duncan assured the group that “Preschool for All” meant exactly that: there would be no asterisk excepting out farmworker families. He invited those in attendance to provide the Administration with information on how to design preschool services to ensure the children of farmworker families did not lose out on the benefits of a preschool education.  Read More

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From the good folks at the Farmworker Advocacy Network:

FarmworkersFarmworkers’ Day of the Dead celebration calls for new life in labor issues
Remembering the dead, holiday highlights workers’ plight, lax state protections

RALEIGH, NC – Gathering this Saturday to remember fallen field and poultry workers, North Carolina farmworkers and human rights advocates are set to observe the Day of the Dead in light of current labor hardships. Workers and members of the Farmworker Advocacy Network will gather after El Centro restaurant’s Day of the Dead 5K Run/Walk in downtown Raleigh in honor of the holiday, in which friends and families assemble to celebrate lost loved ones. This year advocates will gather around a traditional Day of the Dead altar at El Centro at 11 a.m. to remember farmworkers who died on the job in North Carolina, including nine children over the last decade. Read More

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Cross-posted from the blog of the Farmworker Advocacy Network:

By Michael Durbin

Two excellent op-eds illustrate how misinformation is used to block sensible attempts at giving farmworking children the same protections as other children.

In the New York Times, Marjorie Elizabeth Woods writes in “Pitting Child Safety Against the Family Farm” about the Department of Labor’s ill-fated attempt to prevent children under age 16 from working in dangerous farm jobs. Read More

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Workers Memorial Day honors victims of workplace accidents

WHAT: Workers Memorial Day

WHERE: North Carolina Department of Labor, 4 W. Edenton Street, Raleigh

WHEN: Friday, April 26, 12:00 p.m.

Workplace fatalities are all too common in North Carolina. Yet the lives of these men and women, and the facts of their deaths, are too quickly forgotten. Join us for Workers Memorial Day on Friday, April 26, for a ceremony in remembrance of the lives of all 68 workers who died on the job in 2012.

The event will be held at noon at the North Carolina Department of Labor at 4 W. Edenton Street in Downtown Raleigh. Bring one or more pairs of shoes — they will line the street curb and symbolize our loss.

Workers Memorial Day is sponsored by Triangle Jobs With Justice, National Committee for Occupational Health and Safety, Farmworker Advocacy Network, North Carolina Justice Center, Western North Carolina Workers Center, Farm Labor Organizing Committee, and Student Action with Farmworkers.

Be there if you can!