Friends Stay Warm   *   P.O. Box 86185   *   Portland, OR 97286   *   971-865-3530              

© Copyright 2018  All Rights Reserved

Friends Stay Warm

      Supporting our farm, service and seasonal         workers in Oregon

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Give your helping hand to those who need it!

our mission:                      

Supporting our farm, service and seasonal workers and their families with needed utility assistance and advocacy.

For an inspirational and heartbreaking view of farmworker organizing, Watch the movie, Food Chains, on Netflix, Amazon, etc.

Learn how “A small group of workers toils to overcome corporate greed and end slavery and abuse in America’s fields, revealing what actually feeds our country.”

This movie does a good job of explaining the history of food and farmworkers in the United States.  It highlights the recent success of the Immokalee Workers in Florida, tomato pickers who organized and stayed strong for years until one by one, companies like Taco Bell, McDonalds, Walmart, Burger King, Trader Joes, Whole Foods and others signed Fair Food agreements. 

There’s a crucial ingredient that ought to be in the food you eat – fairness to the farmworkers who harvest it, and to the workers who process, cook and serve it.”



The berry farm workers, organized as Familias Unidas por la Justicia at Sakuma Bros. in Washington State won a union contract in June 2017.   Congratulations!  As their berries end up as Driscoll berries in the marketplace, they had called for a boycott, which they now have called off.  However, the berry farm workers in Mexico are calling for a boycott of Driscoll berries as their working conditions and wages are unfair and unsafe.   So please keep boycotting Driscoll berries until all farmworkers connected to their berries are treated fairly.


One of the most pervasive human and worker rights abuses occurs in our food system.  Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore or whatever, we all eat, and therefore we all participate in these unjust conditions.

There is a movement called the Fair Food movement which has proven to be an effective model of ensuring that food system workers are treated justly.  It started with the tomato farm workers in Florida, called the “Immokalee workers” who won rights after pressure was put on the end buyers of the tomatoes – huge corporations like Taco Bell, McDonalds, Walmart, etc. 

Coalition of Immokalee Workers

We are calling for a boycott of Wendys as they refused to sign fair food agreements for the Florida tomatoes they bought; instead, they now buy only tomatoes grown in Mexico, picked and processed by farm workers who suffer even more human rights abuses.

This is a model of direct action that works, and I hope you all will support it by boycotting Wendys, and joining the Fair Food Movement!

Alliance for Fair Food – become a member!

The Campaign for Fair Food has won binding agreements with fourteen multi-billion dollar food retailers to date, including Taco Bell, McDonald's and Walmart. Tens of thousands of farmworkers are seeing never-before-seen rights in the fields, such as shade and water; the right to file a complaint without fear of retaliation; the right to work free of sexual harassment and modern slavery; and the first real wage increase in 30 years.

Equitable Food Initiative (EFI)

The Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) brings together growers, farmworkers and retailers to address labor conditions, food safety and pest management.  When you see EFI's label on fresh fruits and vegetables, you'll know that:

  • Farmworkers are treated fairly and experience decent working conditions
  • Best practices in food safety are followed
  • Farmworkers are engage in identifying problems and creating solutions


At  Friends Stay Warm, we work in partnership with Friends of Seasonal and Service Workers and the Western Farm Workers Association to support our farm, service and seasonal workers who work hard to provide us our daily sustenance and support yet struggle in their poverty conditions. 

Low wages, seasonal unemployment, drought conditions, racism, immigration and other factors contribute to these workers' inability to earn enough money to provide for the basic needs of their families.  These needs include food, clothing, medical care and assistance with their utility bills. 

Many of our farm, service and seasonal workers in the Portland, Oregon area live in apartments that are not well-insulated and are heated by electricity.  Many of these families pay $200 a month or more to Portland General Electric between October and April.  Community Action Organizations throughout Oregon report they received requests for utility assistance from 34,000 households in 2012, yet only had funds to help 5,000 households -- less than 15% of those in need.  

In 2003, 7.08 cents/kWh was the average retail price of electricity in Oregon.  By June 2014, 10.16 cents/kWh was the average retail price of electricity in Oregon, or a rate increase of 43.5%.   And though posting profits for its shareholders, each year PGE asks the Oregon Public Utilities Commission to approve rate increases, which are always more for its residential customers than for small businesses and industrial consumers. 

There were rate increases of 4.6% in 2015, 3.7% in 2016, 2.3% (scaled back from the 5.6% requested) in 2018 and a proposed 4.8% for 2019.

While PGE is posting some great returns for its shareholders, more and more of our working poor cannot meet these relentless rate increases, will be faced with electricity shut-offs during the coldest months. 

At  Friends Stay Warm, we help families stay warm by paying Portland General Electric at least the portion of their bill that will keep the lights and heat on.

Can you imagine coming home from work on a cold and damp day to no heat or lights?  Can you imagine having your children study by candlelight? 

Your donations help our most invisible and lowest wage workers and their families!  Please send your checks to our P.O. box address below.  Thank you!