The United Farm Workers will march through Lodi, Galt and Thornton this week on their way to Sacramento for a rally at the State Capitol.
The rally will be held at 4:30 or 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Lodi's Hale Park, late Wednesday afternoon at St. Christopher's Catholic Church in Galt, and mid-day Thursday at Mater Ecclesiae Catholic Church in Thornton.
The march began on Aug. 23 in Madera and will end at the State Capitol on Sunday. The purpose is to encourage Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the revised "Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act," which would allow farm workers to join a union free from intimidation and threats, in addition to receiving overtime when working more than eight hours a day and 40 hours a week, according to the United Farm Workers website.
"California has workplace laws on the books, but those laws are sometimes ignored in our state's fields, vineyards and orchards," according to State Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, who authored Senate Bill 104.
In a statement on his website, Steinberg used Lodi's Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez as a reason SB 104 is needed. Jimenez, 17, who was pregnant, died in 2008 of heat stroke after collapsing in a Farmington vineyard.
On Tuesday, farm workers will march north on West Lane in Stockton to Lodi, heading north on Hutchins Street, east on Lodi Avenue, north on Central Avenue, west on Elm Street and around the Hale Park neighborhood. They are due to arrive at Hale Park, Elm and Stockton streets, between 4:30 and 5 p.m.
"We want to engage the community as much as we can," said national UFW Vice President Armando Elenes. "We want to be where the farm workers live."
Farm Workers have walked from 15 to 22 miles each day of the campaign, which started in Madera and conducted stops in Le Grand, Merced, Livingston, Turlock, Modesto and Manteca. They are spending today in Stockton.
Elected officials and community members are welcome to participate in the march, Elenes said.
Farm workers plan to have a public dinner at Hale Park Tuesday afternoon before spending the night with host families in the community. Organizers are looking for a Catholic priest to give a blessing to the farm workers and offer Holy Communion at Hale Park.
On Wednesday morning, farm workers will eat a light breakfast, usually with their host family, Elenes said. By 7:30 p.m., they will head to Galt. The route will begin on Lower Sacramento Road through Woodbridge, east on Acampo road to the Highway 99 frontage road, west on Liberty Road to Lower Sacramento Road and north into Galt.
Farm workers will walk through Galt neighborhoods where farm workers live before heading to St. Christopher's Catholic Church, 950 S. Lincoln Way, where they will have dinner.
On Thursday morning, participants will walk from Galt to Thornton, where they will meet at Mater Ecclesiae Catholic Church, 26500 N. Sacramento Blvd. They should arrive in Thornton by mid-day, Elenes said, and then finish the day in Walnut Grove.
Anyone willing to provide lodging for a farm worker while union members are marching through Lodi and Galt may call 661-823-6105.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.