For Immediate Release – May, 2022
Contact: Zena McFadden (608) 475 1534 and/or Joel Greeno (608) 462 3560
From the successful strikes at Starbucks shops, to the work stoppage at the farm implement dealer, CNH Industrial, the labor movement is finding new life. Workers’ demands are many, from receiving a living wage, to improved work conditions. While the problems of family farmers may seem different from workers, the reality is that they have much in common. For this reason, our membership in Family Farm Defenders stands in solidarity with the many workers who are at the picket lines.
Consider pay. Rising inflation and gas prices force working people into already difficult financial situations. Student loans make matters worse for millions, keeping young people from buying homes and cars. Workers, from truck drivers to barristas, struggle to make ends meet.
While workers see their wages fall relative to that of corporate CEOs, farmers see declining prices for what they sell. This is why family farmers call for parity. Parity pricing, which we saw emerge during the Great Depression as a set of policies to put what farmers make on par with what urban workers were paid, would keep farmers on the land.
There’s also problems with work conditions. Workers seek more stable work days, particularly in terms of hours. There’s also the need for bathroom breaks – a basic need that Amazon workers sought. Basically, workers lack control over the places where they earn their livelihoods.
Farmers, too, want to improve where they work. First, there is the demand for right to repair legislation. Now, corporations such as John Deere, place unnecessary restrictions on how farmers repair their machinery. If something breaks down, then they must call in a technician. Meanwhile, fewer and fewer corporations control more and more parts of the food system, from seeds to meat processing facilities. As a result, farmers lose control over what they grow.
Farmers and workers have much in common. Family Farm Defenders stands in solidarity with workers who are demanding basic improvements in their workplaces and lives. Let’s hope that the wave of strikes continues, with more actions waking us up to the need to take our economy back.