Hundreds Of Baja California Farmworkers Continue Strike
Hundreds of Baja California farmworkers are striking this week over wages and working conditions.
They temporarily blocked parts of the Transpeninsular Highway, which runs through the state.
Their actions prompted the arrest of 200 protesters. Farmworkers are currently negotiating with the government in San Quintin, about 115 miles south of Ensenada.
There are concerns the strike could affect produce intended for U.S. supermarkets and restaurants. Those crops include strawberries, cucumbers and tomatoes, which are grown along a roughly 50-mile stretch of the highway.
“They’ve agreed to keep the roads open, but they’re not working so the crops are going unpicked,” said reporter Richard Marosi of the Los Angeles Times.
Marosi wrote an expose of Mexican farm labor last year, and is on the scene watching the developments.
“They’re saying if there’s no progress, then they’re going to continue striking, and no one’s ruling out blocking the highways again," Marosi said.
The general secretary for the state government, Francisco Rueda Gomez, said the strike is under control.
“We can say with calmness that the highway is open," Gomez said. "The path is open for buses, for freight vehicles, and tourists heading to the south of the state.”
Gomez said production is not at risk because 18,000 unionized workers are still in the fields. He said the protesters are about 1,800 mostly seasonal migrant workers who come from southern Mexico.
“We are receiving their worries, their concerns, and making commitments to attend them one by one,” Gomez said.
Gomez also said Mexico’s minister of human rights is investigating claims that workers were sexually abused.