Summer school students at Ben Benavidez Elementary school enjoyed today's visit from Rodriguez. He'll have a bigger audience when he appears on the popular political comedy show the Colbert report later this week. He will be talking about the UFW's "Take Our Jobs" campaign.
Arturo Rodriguez has a plan, "We're offering to anybody in America to come and try to work as a farm worker." Stephen Colbert is expected to take him up on the offer.
For Sanger farmer Manuel Cunha heads the Nisei Farmers' League and says today's debate over legal vs. illegal immigration is a repeat of California circa late 1990's. At that time there was a shortage of farm workers for many of the same reasons, "What the UFW has done is saying U.S. workers or those of you that are citizens or resident aliens and eligible to work: we have jobs."
Tough, back breaking jobs that this farm labor contractor is having trouble filling this season. Leopaldo Garcia a farm labor contractor told us, "This is hard work, to harvest peaches grapes or whatever's in the farm, it's hard." He has had no luck going to state unemployment offices for people willing to take the jobs he has to offer, "I make an order last week and nobody called yet, to to whoever wants to work and they don't call yet."
Finding a permanent legal solution to a now largely illegal immigrant work force is a common goal for the UFW and farmers these days. And many Central Valley farmers like Chuna are hanging their hopes on the current farm bill before congress to insure a means to harvest their crops.
Take Our Jobs
The Colbert Report