Summer means high temperatures â€¦ and, for farmworkers, hard work in hot fields. Weâ€™re talking fields where, without proper precautions,Â workers dieÂ from the heat. The United Farm Workers is trying to keep that from happening, though in some states they have better options than others.
California, where so much of the nationâ€™s produce is grown,Â hasÂ laws protecting workersâ€”requiring that they get proper shade and access to â€śfresh, pure, and suitably coolâ€ť drinking waterâ€”but enforcement is a problem, and workers haveÂ kept dyingÂ despite the laws.Â The UFW is working to makeÂ sure that California workersÂ know their rights and that the state finds out when employers donâ€™t give their workers the shade and water they need to stay safe, as required by the law.
No matter what, itâ€™s brutal work: TheÂ UFW Facebook pageÂ is filled withÂ pictures of workers in 100 degree temperatures. We need a federal standard, and UFW isÂ pushing for one, but the Trump administration and Republican-controlled Senate being what they are, more states need laws like Californiaâ€™s to protect farm workersâ€”workers in southeastern states likeÂ North CarolinaÂ andÂ Georgia, for instance, face heat risks. And in the states where those laws exist, everyone should be an ally to help ensure that farms follow the rules.
This blog was originally published at Daily Kos on July 6, 2019. Reprinted with permission.