Red Line Salish Sea banner on display at a September 30, 2017 march from Birch Bay State Park to Peace Arch State Park

By Sandy Robson

August 25, 2018

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office found itself in the news last month in a July 17, 2018 article published by The Intercept entitled, “The U.S. and Canada are preparing for a new Standing Rock over the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline.” In late May of this year, the pipeline expansion project proposed by Kinder Morgan Inc. was purchased along with the existing Trans Mountain pipeline between Alberta and British Columbia. The purchaser was the Canadian federal government.

Tim Eyman full contact
Tim Eyman speaking at the May 10, 2018 “Full Contact Activism Tour,” held at Meridian High School, in Bellingham, Washington

By Sandy Robson

July 10, 2018

In May of this year, some well known Whatcom County conservative stalwarts teamed up with one of Washington state’s most infamous tax opponents, Tim Eyman, and newly dubbed “Master Provocateur” Glen Morgan, to launch the “Full Contact Activism Tour.” The tour visited eight cities throughout the state.

danger sign sarbanand
Blueberry field at Sarbanand Farms in Sumas, Washington. Photo Credit: Krista Rome

By Sandy Robson

June 24, 2018

In a full courtroom in Whatcom County District Court on Tuesday morning, June 19, 2018, attendees heard Judge Pro Tempore Dave Cottingham agree to Sarbanand Farms’ request that the $73,000 penalty it was assessed by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), be reduced by half, to $36,500. The proceedings that day serve to raise significant doubt as to the ability of state and local agencies to take actions that would adequately identify and prevent abuse of farm workers employed by farms under the H-2A visa program. 

By Sandy Robson

June 3, 2018

This is a follow-up story with additional details related to my March 25, 2018 article. That article had reported on what was known back at that time about Washington state Senator Doug Ericksen’s March 21, 2018 visit to Meridian High School (MHS), as he described it, to talk with students about gun violence and school safety. Ericksen, a Republican from Ferndale, Washington, is running for re-election to the state Senate this year.

sarbanand farms sign

By Sandy Robson

April 27, 2018

Adding to the list of the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries’ (L&I) inspections of Sarbanand Farms in Sumas, Washington, in 2017, is another safety and health inspection I learned more about on Wednesday, April 25. Inspection number 317946364 was conducted by L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) after being initiated back in June 2017, although it was not mentioned in L&I’s February 1, 2018 press release announcing its findings from investigations at Sarbanand Farms which the department initiated in August 2017.

The DOSH inspection initiated in June 2017 did find that Sarbanand Farms had committed a serious violation involving an employee injury. 

Workers receive news about co-workers and Honesto
Remaining workers in the fields at Sarbanand Farms on August 5, 2017 listen to advocates telling them that some of their co-workers were fired earlier that day, and that Honesto Silva Ibarra was in the hospital. Photo Credit: Edgar Franks.

By Sandy Robson

April 23, 2018

In a February 1, 2018 letter sent to Robert Hawk, CEO of Sarbanand Farms, LLC, Deibi Sibrian, Industrial Relations Agent with Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) wrote, in part: