Resolution by the 40th LD Democrats to Endorse the Boycott of Naturipe Berries

WHEREAS, the 40th LD Democrats are concerned for the interests and needs of working people in the 40th LD as well as in Washington State; and

WHEREAS, Sarbanand Farms, owned by Munger Farms in Delano, California and itself a member of a grower cooperative Naturipe, has endangered the lives of farm workers at its Sumas, WA farm because of degraded living and working conditions, including inadequate and potentially contaminated food, inadequate water, no access to health care,  inadequate work breaks and working in dangerous environmental conditions that included high temperatures and extreme air pollution resulting from forest fires; and

WHEREAS, farmworker Honesto Silva Ibarra died due to these dangerous conditions and many other farmworkers fell ill due to the same conditions; and

WHEREAS, more than 70 workers hired as H-2A guest worker walked out of Sarbanand Farms to protest the degraded working and living conditions and the death of their fellow farmworker; and

WHEREAS, Sarbanand Farms employs 519 farmworkers in Sumas, WA hired through H-2A visas and recruited from Mexico and the legal requirements of the H-2A visas prohibits striking, forming a union, or seeking other employment if the workers want to leave Sarbanand Farms, and the employer holds the visas of the workers, thereby prohibiting them from legally leaving their worksite, creating a condition of virtual slavery; and

WHEREAS, the H-2A visa program is an unsustainable practice that hurts local economies by benefiting large farms that have the resources to contract H-2A workers at the expense of small family farms and permits farms with a history of systemic wage theft, labor rights violations, and retaliation against workers to continue these practices because workers can be easily replaced and there is little oversight to ensure worker safety and protection of labor rights; and

WHEREAS, there are built-in incentives to hire guest workers rather than local or domestic farm workers because employers who hire guest workers are exempt from paying social security and unemployment taxes; and

WHEREAS, the H-2A visa program harms all workers in a community by lowering working standards and putting all power in the hands of the employer; and

WHEREAS, Familias Unidas por la Justicia, a local farmworker union of the Pacific Northwest that has given material and nonmaterial support  to the former Sarbanand workers has called for a boycott of Sarbanand Farm berries marketed under the Naturipe brand until Sarbanand Farms negotiates a contract with Familias Unidas por la Justicia that includes the establishment of a worker committee and union oversight over food, housing, working conditions, rest periods, all necessary medical care, a fair disciplinary process and a starting wage of $15 per hour.

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the 40th LD Democrats support the efforts of Familias Unidas por la Justicia in their campaigns to improve the lives and working conditions of farmworkers in Northwest Washington; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the 40th LD Democrats endorse the boycott of Naturipe Berries until Sarbanand Farm meets the conditions set forth above in negotiating a contract with Familias Unidas por la Justicia and calls on its member affiliates to honor this boycott.


Approved on December 13, 2017. 

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Tara Nelson, Alex Arriaga, Janet McKinney, Todd Lagestee, Rosemary Ryan, Rocio Lopez, Denise Mecum, Maggie DeGregorio.

Submitted by Janet McKinney


Resolution to Endorse De-Escalate WA’s Initiative 940

WHEREAS progressive action against injustice is a core part of our Democratic Party Platform;

WHEREAS we take note of and recognize that law enforcement has a unique role in our Communities;

WHEREAS in Washington State, like the rest of the nation, law enforcement use of deadly force has a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities, particularly persons of color, LGBTQ, persons with disabilities, youth, immigrants, with a disproportionate impact on the Black community and Native Americans, and with data showing that one-quarter of uses of deadly force involve a person with mental health issues;

WHEREAS, in Washington State there were 29 people killed by police in 2016 and 36 people killed by police in 2017, according to data compiled by the Washington Post; and

WHEREAS, a majority of those individuals suffered from diagnosed mental health issues or showed signs of mental illness; and

WHEREAS we affirm the role of law enforcement to protect human life and believe that accountability and public trust are a key part of law and order;

WHEREAS the duty to preserve life and protect the community also includes the underlying respect for humanity, and a duty to render first aid at the scene;

WHEREAS the law in Washington state on the use of deadly force by law enforcement (RCW 9A.16.040) has been called the most “egregious” in the nation due to a de facto immunity for unjustified use of force;

WHEREAS the public needs confidence in the review of use of deadly force, particularly when it results in death or serious injury, and has called for independent investigations to provide for a credible outcome;

WHEREAS Initiative 940, which is an initiative to the Legislature, calls for violence de-escalation, mental health, and first aid training, requires that first aid be rendered at the scene, removes the de facto immunity and replaces it with an objective and subjective good faith test, both of which must be met, requires a completely independent investigation, and includes diverse community members at the table to develop policies;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we endorse Initiative 940, also known as De-Escalate Washington; and

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we call for wide-spread support through signature gathering to assure that Initiative 940 qualifies for the ballot, encourage coming to the table with law enforcement at all levels in this work, and will work for the passage of Initiative 940 during the 2018 legislative session; and will pursue its passage through to the November 2018 general election should that be necessary.

Submitted by Tara Nelson.

Approved on November 18, 2017.


Resolution Opposing Charter Schools In Washington State

Resolution regarding any and all legislative bills that would authorize charter schools in Washington State

Whereas, the State Supreme Court of Washington, in September of 2015, ruled that the provisions of Initiative 1240, which would have authorized charter schools violate our state constitution and are against the law. 

Whereas, the Washington State Legislature for four years has refused to respect our state’s constitution which specifies that it is our state’s paramount duty to provide ample funding for our public schools, as reaffirmed and required by the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision of 2012;

Whereas, any attempts by the state legislature to pass any “charter fix” bills, such as Senate Bill 6194 and House Bill E2SSB6194, would be an attempt to circumvent the spirit and letter of the high court’s recent ruling against charters, and would further defund our already underfunded public schools, serving over one million K-12 students statewide; 

Whereas, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has introduced at least 172 bills pushing their corporate-driven education privatization agenda in 42 states, according to the Center for Media and Democracy,

Whereas, vast majority of the fraud perpetrated by charter officials will go undetected because the federal government, the states, and local charter authorizers lack the oversight necessary to detect the fraud,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the membership of the 40th District Democrats stands in strong support of the Washington Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, requiring full funding of our public schools, and their ruling of September 2015 against charters.

We urge all members of the Washington State Legislature, Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Randy Dorn to fully support both key education rulings of our state’s highest court and reject Senate Bill 6194 and House Bill E2SSB6194 and any other bills that would vitiate, amend, or “fix” either of those Supreme Court rulings, now or in the future. 

Submitted by Tara Nelson, Chair