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Ruby Ridge Farm Workers Speak Out About Human Rights Abuses

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Uploaded on Apr 21, 2010

My name is Jennifer Ristau and I am a Willamette University student and
teaching assistant at the Salem Family Literacy Program. I am writing to
inform you that Darigolds processing and distribution of milk produced by
Ruby Ridge Dairy of Pasco, Washington, poses a serious threat to the
health and human rights of our community. When I met with workers from
Ruby Ridge Dairy on Sunday, March 21st, 2010, I was informed that Ruby
Ridge Dairy consistently denies the legal rights of lunch breaks, water,
sick leave with job security, and protection from toxic chemicals to its
workers. In addition to working 10-14 hour shifts under illegal working
conditions, Ruby Ridge exploits its workers through racism and xenophobia,
denying these working members of our community dignity and respect.

Darigold has been informed by the United Farm Worker Ministry of the human
rights abuses committed by its members and still refuses to meet with the
workers. Despite the efforts of the Ruby Ridge work force and
organizations such as the United Farm Workers Union of Oregon and the
Oregon Farm Worker Ministry to inform Darigold of the illegal labor
practices at Ruby Ridge, working conditions remain unchanged.

Members of our community are making a difference by writing numerous
letters to Darigold and boycotting its products. I urge you to join the
workers and allies in securing human rights to members of our community
who are targeted by xenophobia and racism. As consumers of Darigold
products we have both the responsibility and the power to influence the
actions of Darigold. We can do our part by boycotting Darigold products
and writing letters to Darigold to let them know that human rights are
non-negotiable.



Darigolds Address:
Consumer Affairs
P.O. Box 34377
Seattle, WA 98124-1377



Darigold buys, processes and distributes milk produced by Ruby Ridge Dairy and by some 500 other dairies in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and northern California. * Ruby Ridge has fired 12 of its workers because of their involvement in union organizing * The Ruby Ridge work force has raised grievances with their employer, Dick and Ruby Bengen, to no avail. These grievances include: o being treated with disrespect, intimidation, racial epithets, threats, including threats with a shotgun, which Mr. Bengen claims he keeps "just to scare the birds in the barn" o Regularly receiving pay for several hours fewer than they actually worked o Working 10, 12, even 14 hour shifts without breaks for water, lunch, or rest o Working with dangerous chemicals and equipment without adequate protection o Having to come to work when they are sick or risk losing their job. * Darigold has been asked to meet with the workers, and has steadfastly refused to do so o Letters have been written by members of the community o Darigold Vice President and General Counsel met for two hours with the executive director and a board member of the Oregon Farm Worker Ministry, but refused to consider meeting with the workers o Darigold calls itself a "socially responsible company" yet turns the other way in the face of labor abuses committed by its members.

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