Dozens of farm workers and supporters gathered in front of an Addison County dairy farm Saturday morning to protest an alleged assault and wage theft of a worker.
Dairy workers, neighbors, local faith leaders and students picketed for nearly an hour in front of Goodrich farm in Salisbury. This in response to an incident that occurred earlier in the week.
Jose Ramos, a former worker for the farm, went to collect his final paycheck of six hundred dollars. When he got there, he was allegedly refused and met with violence.
“Jose returned to the farm for a second time, accompanied by a migrant justice organizer. He was shoved out of the barn and had the door slammed in his face. A migrant justice organizer was also assaulted by a supervisor on the farm,” says Will Lambek, with Migrant Justice.
Emotions were high Saturday morning outside the farm, causing clashes on both sides of the issue.
“What we saw from the farm owners this morning, really shows the reaction that they have, when a farm worker is making a just demand for the wages that he’s owed. They reacted with anger and violence,” says Lambek.
I reached out to the members of Goodrich farm, none of which were available or willing to comment on the situation, or the events that transpired.
While Saturday’s protests were mainly surrounding Mr. Ramos, he tells me that he is not the only one this has happened to here at Goodrich farm. I asked him if he believes that the outpouring of support for his case will cause the farm to have a change of heart and pay him what he is owed. “To be honest, I don’t know. Because there have been a lot of cases on this farm, where workers have left and they’ve never been paid what they were owed. But I hope that my case is the exception,” says Ramos.
And while they were not yet successful in their attempts to get Mr Ramos paid, Lambek says that they will be back in the future.
Protesters also called on other dairy farmers to distance themselves from mistreatment and to denounce violence against workers.