Ostrom workers demand fair wages, respect

UPDATE (Sept. 19, 2022)

Join mushroom workers, UFW and allies as they take their demands to the company on Saturday in Sunnyside


SUNNYSIDE, Wash. — The workers at Ostrom Mushroom Farms in Sunnyside are demanding a workplace free from threats, excessive pressure, harassment, and retaliation. They democratically elected a committee that has been leading a card drive to be represented by the United Farm Workers, and now they have a strong majority of current workers supporting the union. The committee met with company management on Aug. 3 and was able to secure back wages owed to many of the workers. But since then, Ostrom management has refused to respond to the committee or meet with the union.

Inspired by farmworker marches and actions in California, Ostrom mushroom workers and their allies will march on Saturday, Sept. 17 from South Hill Park to the Ostrom Mushroom Farms to demand that the company respond to their proposals and meet with them. They are demanding fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect.

TAKE A STAND — All union members and community supporters are invited to participate in this march and action. Meet at 3 p.m. at South Hill Park, 1521 S. 1st St. in Sunnyside.

Meanwhile, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a civil lawsuit last month against Ostrom Mushroom Farms for discriminating against U.S. residents and women, retaliating against workers who spoke out, and abusing the H-2A system by systematically firing its majority-female Washington mushroom pickers and replacing them with H-2A foreign agricultural workers who were mostly male. The attorney general reports:

From January 2021 to May 2022, the company fired over 140 of its U.S.-based mushroom pickers, most of whom were women. Many of them already had years of experience working at the farm. During the same period, Ostrom hired 65 temporary, foreign agricultural workers under the federal H-2A program — all but two of whom were men. In addition, as the company was firing its majority female workers, it posted a job advertisement on Facebook seeking “only males” to work at the farm.

Ostrom’s treatment of its workers is unacceptable. It’s time for the community to stand with these workers are they demand fair wages and decent working conditions without retaliation. Join them on Saturday!

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