Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United), is Oregon's union of farmworkers, nursery, and reforestation workers, and Oregon's largest Latino organization. PCUN's fundamental goal is to empower farmworkers to understand and take action against systematic exploitation and all of its effects. To achieve this end, PCUN is involved in community and workplace organizing on many different levels.
PCUN's office is located in Woodburn, a town of just over 20,000 located in the mid-Willamette Valley, the center of Oregon's agricultural industry. Woodburn, which evolved during the 1960's into a service and cultural center for the Valley's Mexican community, currently has a majority Latino population of just over 50%. Woodburn is the largest municipality in Oregon with a Latino majority or a majority of people of color.
PCUN's organizing and outreach efforts include workers from the various areas of agriculture, including:
- year-round employees
- seasonal workers
- nursery and reforestation workers
- cannery workers.
PCUN's Collective Bargaining Committee uses various direct organizing tactics, such as visiting fields, distributing leaflets, and holding house meetings and marches. PCUN also organizes through its Service Center for Farmworkers, which provides members in good standing with support services such as translation, recommendations to lawyers for work-related incidents, and immigration services (usually petitioning for close family members to gain legal status).
PCUN members in good standing are also covered by a group insurance policy which pays a funeral benefit if a member or immediate family member dies.
PCUN also works closely with a wide variety of other local organizations, including eight "sister organizations" brought together under the umbrella of "CAPACES". CAPACES is a movement-building collaborative fostering relationships, cross-training, plus more shared sense of vision and scale.
The nine CAPACES network organizations have combined staff totaling sixty. Like PCUN, three other CAPACES network organizations are based in Woodburn:
- Farmworker Housing Development Corporation, which runs the farmworker housing units in Woodburn
- Voz Hispana Causa Chavista, which organizes Latino voters and educates community members of the legacy of Cesar Chavez
- Mujeres Luchadoras Progresistas, which promotes economic and leadership development for farmworker women
Four other CAPACES network organizations are based in Salem:
- CAUSA, Oregon's statewide immigrant rights coalition
- Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS) developing Latino youth leadership
- Mano a Mano Family Center, offering basic social services
- Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality, empowering Latino families to take an active role in their children's education and in advocating for equity in the public education system.
On a national level, PCUN collaborates with other organizations to promote legalization for undocumented workers and to ensure immigrants' rights, and also advocates with the Oregon Legislature to protect farmworkers' rights through legal means as well. PCUN's Workplace Health projects has also involved national and statewide collaboration around issues such as documenting pesticide exposure, controlling pesticide use, educating workers on safer practices, and combatting workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault (especially victimizing farmworker women from indigenous communities).
PCUN has led or been involved in numerous organizing efforts and campaigns since its founding. See our history page to learn more about PCUN's projects over the years.