As climate disasters worsen, researchers push for farmworker safety net
In the last few weeks, academics and labor advocates have released a flurry of studies and surveys with the same urgent finding: Climate disasters are wreaking havoc on the health, safety, and economic stability of farmworkers, and well-funded government programs are the best way to provide workers with relief. (No paywall)
Researchers link glyphosate to liver and metabolic disease in children
Researchers looking at health records and blood, urine and saliva samples found "an association between early-life exposure to glyphosate and liver inflammation and metabolic disease in young adults" in California's Salinas Valley, according to the lead scientist Brenda Eskanazi. Glyphosate is the most widely used weedkiller in the world.
Study: In California’s Central Valley, repurposing farmland could save communities
As the water crisis in California’s Central Valley intensifies, farmers are fallowing fields, slashing jobs and hemorrhaging money. But according to a study released this week, some rural towns might be better off abandoning agriculture entirely and repurposing farmland to create better-paying jobs, ease water usage, decrease pollution and preserve landowners’ revenue streams.
California farmworker bill will reduce intimidation during union elections, says union official
In a remarkable reversal, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation on Wednesday that will make it easier for farmworkers to vote in union elections, after indicating that he would veto the bill only weeks before. The governor changed course after facing mounting pressure from union leaders, workers, and political allies, including President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (No paywall)
EPA withdraws interim registration, but glyphosate remains in use
The EPA withdrew its interim approval of glyphosate, the most widely used weedkiller in the world, while insisting that the herbicide is safe to use and does not cause cancer. In a court filing, the EPA said it would concentrate on completing the periodic review of glyphosate required by law, most likely in 2026.
Gov. Newsom won’t support farmworker union voting bill
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday he “cannot support” a bill that many farmworkers say would prevent their employers from intimidating them during union elections, disappointing the United Farm Workers union, which had launched a weeks-long march to the state capitol in support of the legislation.(No paywall)
As the heat rises, who will protect farmworkers?
In much of the country, as climate change drives increasingly brutal heat waves, farmworkers lack protection. How they fare will largely depend on whether their employers voluntarily decide to provide the access to water, shade, and rest breaks that are critical when working in extreme heat. (No paywall)
Amazon, Starbucks make workers’ rights group’s ‘Dirty Dozen’
By disregarding the health and safety of their employees, some of the most prominent companies in the food industry have created situations that led to workers being injured or killed on the job, according to a new report by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), an advocacy group.(No paywall)
Farmworker safety agency is needed in California, says report
The pandemic “simply became another life-threatening hazard” among many facing Indigenous farmworkers in California, said a report released on Monday. Based on surveys and interviews of more than 300 workers, the report called for the creation of a state agency dedicated to enforcing …
New study adds to mounting evidence that farmworkers suffer higher rates of Covid-19
The rate of Covid-19 infection among farmworkers in California’s Salinas Valley was four times higher than in the rest of the local population, according to a new study published by JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association. Based on a survey of more than a thousand workers done between July and November 2020, the study described a strong correlation between high rates of infection and the conditions that farmworkers face in their day-to-day lives, including overcrowded housing and a lack of workplace benefits like paid medical leave.(No paywall)
Vilsack sets $700-million program to help farm and meatpacking workers
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new $700 million grant program to provide direct financial relief to U.S. farm and meatpacking workers hit hard by Covid-19. But it was unclear whether undocumented immigrants, who make up roughly half of all farmworkers and nearly a quarter of meatpacking workers, would be eligible.
Stronger protections needed for farmworkers as pandemic stretches into second year, argue researchers
Farmworkers face serious occupational risks that the pandemic has only exacerbated, and better policies are needed to protect them from exposure to heat, chemicals, and Covid-19, say two new related reports on social and health conditions in the sector.