Women Farm Workers Health and Safety Conference

FRESNO, Calif. The conference, held at the Holiday Inn in Visalia, is in its 7th year ... its main focus is to provide information to farm working women on health issues, road safety and their rights while out on the fields.

Economic Enforcement Coalition David Dorame said, "How to be safe with the heat with the new regulations of the shade, how much water they should be drinking, what is the minimum wage, how much they should be paid in agriculture, what rights they have, what resources they have."

The conference also helps women looking for work. Organizers say because of the drought and bad economy, over one-third of the 560 women attending this year are unemployed-- so many were excited about the education and job training seminars.

CHP Officer Graciela Torres-Torres said, "There is a lot of communities out in the county whether its Fresno or Tulare, there's no outreach for them-- they don't receive a lot of information."

At this booth-- the Tulare County Sheriff's Department used mannequins to show mothers what to look for if they suspect their child may be involved with gangs.

Detective Florence Cotton said, "They're asking us, 'Hey my son wears that, does that mean he's a gang member?' So we have the gang detective here who is actually giving them the information and what to look for and just because they don't have the full clothing of a gang member, doesn't mean they are not in a gang."

The free conference is organized based on participant evaluations from the previous year-- organizers want to make sure they are meeting these women's specific needs.

Conference Organizer Lali Moheno said, "We do it strictly on their recommendations, this conference is driven by the farm workers themselves not by agencies."

Free transportation and childcare were provided for the participants.

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