Coronavirus pay raise proposed for farmworkers

Farmworkers would gain a $13-an-hour hazardous-duty pay raise and 10 days of paid sick leave under a bill filed by six Democratic senators on Tuesday. The bill also would provide grants to farmers and ranchers eligible so they can pay the higher wages and purchase hand washing stations and …

Covid-19 spreading among Florida farmworkers

In the last several weeks, health workers in Immokalee, Florida, the nation’s tomato-growing capital, have detected an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases: an average of 24 new positives a day, reports Elizabeth Royte in FERN's latest story. (No paywall)

Farmworkers at Driscoll’s supplier demand fair pay, safe conditions amid pandemic

In a rare organized action, more than 100 nonunion workers joined a work stoppage at Rancho Laguna Farms, a California grower that supplies Driscoll’s, the largest berry producer in the world. The workers were protesting a demand that they pick only the best fruit for the same pay, even though quality was spotty, making it hard to earn more than minimum wage at their piece-work rate of $1.90 a box.(No paywall)

Fearing the spread of Covid-19, workers strike at three fruit facilities in Washington State

Workers at three fruit packing facilities in Washington State have gone on strike to protest what they say are inadequate protections against the spread of Covid-19. The strikes come as outbreaks of the virus continue to spread throughout facilities where the nation’s food is processed, from meatpacking plants to produce packing houses.(No paywall)

Unsafe heat for farmworkers to nearly double by 2050, study predicts

Officially, about five farmworkers die every year from heat-related illness, though that number is likely an undercount. But whatever the true death toll, it’s expected to rise sharply in coming years. According to a study led by climate scientist Michelle Tigchelaar, the number of unsafe days in crop-growing U.S. counties will jump from today’s 21 per season to 39 days per season by 2050. The near doubling of unsafe days implies a near doubling in deaths. (No paywall)

Coronavirus forces California farmworkers to scramble for safe drinking water

Some 1 million residents of California farmworker communities have relied for years on bottled water because their tap water is tainted with nitrate and other agricultural pollutants. Now, as stores ration water to prevent hoarding during the coronavirus crisis, these residents are relying on friends and family, or driving many miles to bigger towns in search of water, reports Liza Gross in FERN's latest story. (No paywall)

Farmworkers will be exempt from immigration restrictions

After vowing to ban immigration in a late-night tweet, President Trump said Tuesday the administration would temporarily halt the issuance of new green cards and would not stand in the way of guest workers entering the United States. “The farmers will not be affected. That is a very …

Despite threat of fines, jail time, price gouging still rampant in California farmworker communities

People in some of California’s poorest towns still face exorbitant prices on staple foods more than a month after the governor declared a state of emergency that made price gouging illegal. The practice has been particularly insidious in farmworker towns like El Centro, in the Imperial Valley, and Delano, in the San Joaquin Valley. In both towns, like so many of the state’s farmworker communities, more than a quarter of residents live in poverty and most are Latino.(No paywall)

If farmworkers suffer a coronavirus outbreak, the nation’s food supply is at risk

In the coming weeks and months, tens of thousands of migrant farmworkers will arrive in agricultural centers across the nation, where they will live and work in conditions that are prime for a coronavirus outbreak. Yet despite the fact that these are the men and women Americans depend on to plant, tend, and harvest their food, "these workers and their advocates say that many of the farmers who employ them have provided virtually no information on how they can protect themselves, their co-workers, and their families from the coronavirus — creating the potential for a massive public-health and food-security crisis."(No paywall)

USDA, Labor Department plan would allow guestworkers to shift jobs

To aid farmers worried about an imminent labor shortage, two federal departments said on Thursday that they will help farms find foreign and domestic workers who may be eligible to transfer from one agricultural employer to another. (No paywall)