On Thursday, August 31st, the United Farm Workers President Teresa Romero will lead farm workers from Windmill Farms and supporters in forming a mile-long human billboard across Downtown Seattle. This pre-Labor Day action will call on the management of the Canadian-owned Sunnyside, Wash.-based Windmill Farms to honor the wishes of its workers who voted for the union by recognizing and negotiating a union contract with the UFW. Billboarders will also hold signs urging consumers to purchase mushrooms from unionized firms such as Monterey Mushrooms and Countryside Mushrooms.
Long lines of human billboarders holding signs along high-traffic streets have been a UFW tactic since the early 1970s.
Windmill mushrooms are sold at many Seattle grocery stores and restaurants. But the mushroom workers there have toiled under horrendous working conditions, enduring unsafe treatment and oppressive quotas. Workers battling for fairness have suffered intimidation such as increased scrutiny, firings, and other forms of retaliation.
Washington’s Attorney General recently closed a case against the former owners of the mushroom farm for $3.4 million over gender discrimination after the company fired 79 percent of its mostly female workforce. It advertised for only male H-2A foreign guest workers in order to have workers with fewer labor rights and family obligations. A majority of workers at the farm voted to form a union with the UFW, but the owners refuse to meet or recognize the union.
Who: Windmill mushroom workers, supporters, and UFW President Teresa Romero
What: Pre-Labor Day mile-long human billboard line
When: Thursday, August 31, 4-6 p.m.
Where: Billboarders check in at the Seattle Center (intersection of 5th & Mercer)
Agenda: After 4 p.m. check-in at 5th & Mercer, supporters go to assigned blocks; at 5 p.m. they march to Counterbalance park at the intersection of Queen Anne Ave N and Roy for a 5:45 p.m. rally