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Annual farmworkers march supports WA tulip harvesters

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Friday, April 19, 2024   

An annual march for farmworkers' rights is being held Sunday in northwest Washington.

This year, marchers are focusing on the conditions for local tulip and daffodil workers.

Alfredo Juarez, organizer for the farmworkers rights organization Community to Community Development, said tulip and daffodil harvesters are raising concerns about pay, pesticide use near where they are working and the need for clean restrooms. He noted the march coincides with the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

"During the tourist season when you show up here, you see all the beautiful flowers and different colors, design," Juarez acknowledged. "But the work that goes into making all that happen is done by the workers and that's people that you don't really see. You just see the flowers."

The farmworkers' march, known as La Marcha Campesina, starts at 10 a.m. Sunday in Mount Vernon. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is the largest tulip festival in the country and draws a million visitors annually.

Juarez emphasized the workers want to see better conditions in the fields.

"We really like doing the job," Juarez pointed out. "It just gets very tough and it's hard for us sometimes when we do so much. So, everybody else enjoys it, but for us when we're doing the work, it's tough."

The march will follow a 7.5-mile loop. Juarez added the march typically takes place in May, but the date was changed this year to coincide with the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

Disclosure: Community to Community Development contributes to our fund for reporting on Human Rights/Racial Justice, Livable Wages/Working Families, Poverty Issues, and Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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