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Santa Rosa march to mark UFW anniversary, support farm worker overtime bill

  • 3/30/2009: A1: Marchers head toward downtown Santa Rosa along Sebastopol Road during the UFW's annual tribute to Cesar Chavez on Sunday.
    PC: Marchers head toward downtown Santa Rosa along Sebastopol Road Sunday afternoon in the annual Chavez memorial march.

Hundreds of immigrants, farm workers and their supporters are expected to march through downtown Santa Rosa Sunday as part of a statewide United Farm Workers campaign aimed at providing farmworkers with overtime pay and enhancing their safety on the job.

The march starts at noon in the parking lot of the Old Albertsons supermarket on Sebastopol Road. From there, it winds through Historic Railroad Square and into Old Courthouse Square, where a rally will be held.

The event is part of the UFW's annual celebration honoring Cesar Chavez, a farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist who helped found the union.

"We honor Cesar Chavez's legacy on this 50th anniversary of the founding of his union by declaring that farm workers are worth more — and deserve more — in pay and protections," said UFW President Arturo Rodriguez.

The UFW's legislative priorities include a bill authored by Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, that would pay farmworkers overtime after they work eight hours, after 40 hours in a week or more than eight hours on the seventh day.

Tto get the federal Fair Labor Standards Act approved by Congress in 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt excluded the nation's farm workers from those protections, according to Allen's staff.

Last March 21, the march in Santa Rosa drew an estimated 5,000 people, more than what police had expected. The event was peaceful and there were no problems reported other than unexpected traffic congestion as performers stopped to entertain.

The route for Sunday's march is the same as last year's.

Participants will leave 665 Sebastopol Road at noon and make their way east on Sebastopol Road. From there, marchers will turn left on Olive Street to Wilson Street, right on Fifth Street, left on Morgan Street, right on Sixth Street, left on A Street, right on Seventh Street, right on B Street, left on Fourth Street and right on Mendocino Avenue.

You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or derek.moore@pressdemocrat.com.


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