Dolores Huerta, president and founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, speaks to rally attendees on Aug. 8 in Bakersfield. The foundation organized a rally in front of Rep. Kevin McCarthy's Bakersfield office to denounce his comments about mass shootings.

FRESNO — Eight protesters were handcuffed and removed from the Fresno County Hall of Records on Tuesday, following a protest to try to get raises for workers who take care of the elderly and disabled.

Wearing purple T-shirts, hundreds of people chanted and clanged cowbells in the hallway just outside of the chambers as the Board of Supervisors met Tuesday morning.

About 90 minutes after the meeting began, Fresno County deputies entered the hallway and ordered the protesters to clear out.

Eight protesters, including union advocate Dolores Huerta, were taken away in plastic handcuffs.

More than 17,000 people in Fresno County rely on caregivers through the In-Home Supportive Services program, according to advocates. Those workers haven’t gotten a raise from the county in a decade, according to their union, Service Employees International Union 2015.

Local union organizer Ua Lugo said the workers have been negotiating with supervisors for multiple years. County officials during negotiations recently offered an hourly 10 cents raise, but only for the next year.

The caregivers make minimum wage, which is $12.

“They are finalizing the budget in September. We want to make sure they put us in the budget for a wage increase,” Lugo said. “So today is very important.”

Workers say the pay is especially important because the need for home care workers will only grow.

Fresno County’s senior population is expected to increase by 106,000 people by 2030, according to the California State Plan on Aging.

Huerta, an 89-year-old civil rights leader, said she wanted to take part in the effort to bring awareness to the plight of the caregivers.

“All workers need to be respected,” she said. “Labor unions are not respected. They’re the only way that laborers can improve their lives.”

The supervisors held their meeting inside the chambers and did not address the protesters. They were in closed session as the eight demonstrators were cuffed, according to a county employee.

Demonstrators chanted “I believe that we will win” and other chants, sometimes in Spanish. A large sign read “Caregivers Save Lives.”

Sheriff’s spokesperson Tony Botti said six protesters were given citations for misdemeanor failing to disperse and released. Two others were booked into jail for misdemeanor blocking a doorway but were expected to be released Tuesday afternoon.

Martha Valladarez cried as she talked about taking care of her daughter, who has Down syndrome. Tears streamed down her face as cuffs were placed on her wrists.

She and other advocates argued it’s cheaper to pay an in-home worker to care for patients than to fund institutions.

“It should not come to this. It should not come to this,” she said. “They have no idea the love that we have for our family members.”

(16) comments


I think collective bargaining can be a good thing. I believe that this story happens too often and seems immune to race, socioeconomic standing, etc. See story here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/08/21/dana-pullman-ma-state-police-anne-lynch-arrested-scandal/2071481001/

This is why I personally am not a fan of unions. While this is an extreme example, it happens at many unions and other tax-exempt organizations.


"Our labor unions are not narrow, self-seeking groups. They have raised wages, shortened hours and provided supplemental benefits. Through collective bargaining and grievance procedures, they have brought justice and democracy to the shop floor."

JOHN F. KENNEDY, speech, Aug. 30, 1960

"The labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them."

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., speech to AFL-CIO, Dec. 11, 1961

From The Nation dated 12/06/13;

(Nelson) Mandela, the African National Congress leader, Nobel Prize winner and first president of the new South Africa, who died Thursday at age 95, recognized the organization of workers as a part of the freedom struggle and of the formation of a just society...He declared himself to be “fully committed to the protection of the integrity of the collective bargaining system.”

From the National Catholic Review dated 7/06/17; Last week, Pope Francis spoke to a delegation from the Confederation of Trade Unions, Italy's equivalent of the AFL-CIO in this country...He sketched for the group two aspects of trade unionism that he thought were especially necessary at this point in history. First, he called the union movement to perform a prophetic role, which it does when "it gives a voice to those who have none, denounces those who would "sell the needy for a pair of sandals" (cf. Amos 2:6), "unmasks the powerful who trample the rights of the most vulnerable workers, defends the cause of the foreigner, the least, the discarded." He noted that the proudest moments in the history of the Italian trade union movement came when it performed this function...


Labor unions are the only way laborers can improve their lives Ms. Huerta? How disrespectful to the millions of laborers with self-determination and true optimism about their future.


Bottom line minimum wage needs to be a living wage . Wage disparity in this country keeps getting worse.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

No Copper, minimum wage was NEVER intended to be a living wage- check your history. Expecting someone to support a family of four (or more) flipping a burger or saying "Welcome to Walmart" is completely unreasonable (no offense to anyone doing that, but $15+ an hour is ridiculous).

All raising the minimum wage does is increase the prices of goods and services to the consumer- especially in the service industry. Do you think companies just dismiss the economics of such a change out of their own profits? According to the Census bureau, there are approximately 30 million employer and non-employer firms in the United States. Of those, 98% have 20 or fewer employees. How many of these companies do you expect to survive a significant increase in the minimum wage?

You like to bag on the "evil" big corporations, but there are far more small businesses in this country and many of those will be much less likely to exist in a market in which they can no longer compete. From that point, all you'll be left with is a monopoly led by the corporations you so despise...


What about a bunch of fascist comments here. But then, it's Bakersfield, where educated, thinking people who read more than just the local newspaper just don't exist.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

As one of the uneducated, non-thinking and unwashed masses, I can simply point out this forum is simply an example of people exercising their First Amendment rights- I see no comments attempting to suppress speech of anyone with an opposing view. When you actually think about it, fascism, by lexical definition, can't even really be accomplished in this forum. To do so, would require the ability to remove another person's comment(s) and no user here has that power.


I wish she was handcuffed when she gave a speech at a CSUB graduation. It had to be the worst invite ever by the institution and the students I’m positive got zero to motivate them for their future endeavors. Please no more Huerta stories unless it involves a Shepard’s hook that forces her to exit stage left to a retirement home.

Tony Tee

$12.00 an hour may sound like good money. Out of that $12.00, workers have to pay UNION DUES. There are plenty of people who would take the jobs, should the protesters walk out of their jobs.

It’s a good heads-up for those that are looking for a job. So, on behalf of those people, thanks Dolores. Keep banging on those pots & pans.


Huerta is nothing but a Media hog.. Nothing else...


Huerta is a paid professional protester. This is simply a cost of doing business for her that is offset by the positive publicity she thinks she is getting.


She’s mean and a bully. She made teachers jobs more difficult by handcuffing the schools from suspending problem students.


Minimum wage goes up all the time in California..those people are getting raises just like many other workers.

Inconvenient Truth

"Martha Valladarez cried as she talked about taking care of her daughter, who has Down syndrome. Tears streamed down her face as cuffs were placed on her wrists."

Millions of Americans care for disabled and sick loved ones WITHOUT being payed by the taxpayers.

We call it: "Taking care of family."


Can you imagine demanding a raise from your boss and being so loud and unresponsive to police that you were arrested?

Inconvenient Truth

I can imagine getting fired and forcibly removed from the premises in handcuffs.

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