07/01/04 — Pendergrass arrested

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Pendergrass arrested

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 1, 2004 1:57 PM

Farm organizer charged with trespass

Blake Pendergrass, organizer for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee in Dudley, was arrested while trying to organize farm workers in Nash County.

Pendergrass and a student intern, Francisco Heredia, were meeting on June 25 at a labor camp near Whitakers, with 20 cucumber pickers.

They said they were there to hear complaints about substandard living and working conditions and pay that is below the minimum wage. Nash County deputies charged Pendergrass and Heredia with criminal trespassing at the grower's request.

FLOC and Student Action with Farm Workers, the organization that sent Heredia to work with Pendergrass, announced today that they are trying to get the charges dropped by the district attorney.

The organizations say they're mobilizing unions, churches, organizations and public leaders to expose violations of rights that "characterize the oppressive nature of the agricultural industry."

The court dates are Aug. 2 for Pendergrass and Aug. 3 for Heredia, in Nashville.