United Farm Workers

 

You won't want to believe what's still happening at Darigold

Last year we told you about Ruby Ridge Dairy. Workers there were threatened with a gun, had their wages stolen, were forced to eat lunch while milking cows-- avoiding getting feces into their food, and had to drink water out of the same hose used to wash the cow feces and urine off the floor.

It's happening again.
This time it’s not Ruby Ridge. It's DeRuyter Brothers of Sunnyside, WA, another dairy that also supplies milk to the huge milk cooperative Darigold. Here is what workers at DeRuyter Bros have shared. The workers asked that their names remain confidential because they are afraid of the type of retaliation that happened at Ruby Ridge.

One worker, we'll call him Pedro, told us that he worked about 9 hours every day, making only around $75. Sometimes he had to work 10 hours for the same amount. Any time he took a day off, he was docked an additional day’s pay from a day he actually worked. "Because we didn't have a lunch hour, nor soap to wash our hands, nor time to eat, I had to eat with my dirty hands, with my gloves on because there is no time to even take off your gloves... When I ate, I would eat at the same time that I was milking the cow. You have to work at the same time that you have iodide and cow excrement in your hands. If you don't pay attention the cow poop will fall into the food."

He also told us, “During a meeting, Kelley [the general manager] got really mad at a worker, she took out some bullet shells and she threw them forcefully on the table and she yelled that right there she is the one who gives the orders and that whoever doesn’t like it can leave. They were bullet shells. We all stayed very quiet, very scared.”

How long is it going to take before Darigold takes action? How many more workers must come forward? We wanted to see if these were isolated cases so we went to many other Darigold dairies from Idaho, to Oregon, to Washington State. What we found were circumstances similar to these. During the next weeks we will share those stories with you in an effort to give these workers a voice.
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