Longtime farm worker advocate Villanueva dies

YAKIMA — Tomas Villanueva, who for decades advocated for farm workers in Washington state, has died. He was 72.

His daughter, Graciela Villanueva, told the Associated Press her father passed away on Friday.

From the state capitol to the orchards of central Washington, Villanueva played a key role in improving working conditions for farm workers, advocating for minimum wage and health care standards. He worked on improving farm worker housing in the days workers still camped unsheltered in the banks of the Columbia River.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported that Villanueva led several farm worker strikes over the years to demand better conditions on the fields, such as making toilets and drinking water to laborers.

Former Gov. Mike Lowry said Villanueva was the reason working conditions for farm workers have improved.

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Information from: Yakima Herald-Republic, http://www.yakimaherald.com

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