SAN QUINTIN, Mexico – Workers at large, export-oriented farms in the Mexican border state of Baja California have led a week of protests over low pay, abuses and poor conditions, threatening a harvest that supplies millions of dollars-worth of tomatoes, strawberries and other crops to the United States.
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Farmworkers have burned tires and tossed rocks at vehicles while blocking Baja's main north-south highway on and off. As many as 50,000 are believed to be on strike statewide as of Tuesday.
Many of the workers are migrants from southern Mexico who toil at huge hot-house farms just south of Ensenada. Their demands include health care, overtime pay, days off, an end to abuse by field bosses and more pay than the $8 many earn for a full day of stoop-labor.