Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Jose Martinez-Cuevas and Patricia Aguilar Lead the Fight for Overtime for Farm Workers

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Yakima (Washington) County Superior Court has granted final approval for a $1 million settlement that provides retroactive overtime pay for workers at a Lower Yakima Valley dairy. The settlement wraps up a class-action lawsuit filed in 2016 by Jose Martinez-Cuevas, a UFCW member and Patricia Aguilar on behalf of themselves and nearly 300 co-workers of DeRuyter Brothers Dairy of Outlook. Martinez-Cuevas and Aguilar alleged that they worked nine to 12 hours a day, six hours a week, without rest breaks, meal pay or overtime pay.

This case was the impetus for bipartisan legislation—supported by the Washington State Labor Council, the United Farm Workers and Familias Unidas por la Justicia—that spurred state lawmakers this year to pass historic legislation granting all farm workers overtime pay. Martinez-Cuevas and Aguilar are heroes for many other workers.