MICOP and CAUSE join forces to hold a press conference in Santa Maria for just salaries for farmworkers


By: Miguel Hernandez Alvarez

(Escucha el audio en Español y Mixteco, variante de Guadalupe Nundaca)

In memory of César Chávez Day, several members of the organizations Central Coast Alliance United for Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) and the Mixteco Indigenous Comunity Organizing Project (MICOP) came together in Santa María to give a press conference for the launch of the report called “Harvesting Dignity: The Case for a Living Wage for Farmworkers.” The report focuses on bringing attention to the unfair working conditions that many farmworkers face every day and the lack of fair wages for the arduous work of all farmworkers.

The report reveals “wage disparities. In 2023, ‘the median hourly wage for farmworkers in Santa Barbara County was just $17.42 or $36,244 a year.’ This compares to truck drivers, who received a median hourly wage of $26.76, which translates to an annual salary of $55,672. At the same time, construction workers earned a median hourly wage of $25.04, resulting in an annual salary of $52,104, according to the California Employment Development Department.”

Additionally, in the press release, it was mentioned that “The wage discrepancy between labor-intensive industries that share high rates of workplace injuries and mortality points to the historical lack of inclusion of agricultural workers in unions, as well as to the racial segregation of the agricultural labor force.”

Executive Director of MICOP, Arcenio López, also shared a few words about the effects of low wages for agricultural workers; “Many farmworkers cannot afford the basic cost of necessities such as adequate housing, health care, child care, and food, especially with the rising cost of living in cities along California’s central coast.”

The press release concluded with the words: “All people deserve a living wage so they can keep a roof over their heads, food on their children’s tables, and take care of their bodies and minds. Farm workers feed the world but can barely support their own families on their low wages. “A living wage for farmworkers is the only way forward for the future agricultural industry and the Central Coast.”

Get Text Updates