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COVID-19: Farmworkers risk lives picking food

6 7 41
23.05.2020

I was 8 years old when I first joined my two older brothers and my mom to work moving irrigation pipes in the potato, alfalfa and wheat fields outside Blackfoot, Idaho. During the weekdays, we worked before and after school. During the weekends, it was mornings and late afternoons. The work was very hard and the weather was cold. Sick pay and health care were pipe dreams for most farmworkers.

Then, as now, these frontline workers were critical to maintaining America’s food supply.

My experiences led me to a career as a union organizer and in the 1980s I helped launch the farmworker women’s movement where we fought for the health, safety and security of all field laborers, as we constantly faced sexual assault, harassment and violence in the workplace, as well as domestic violence at home.

Today, as the COVID-19 pandemic rampages across the globe, it has been well-documented how the disease has disproportionately affected vulnerable communities and people of color.

Few groups have been adversely affected by COVID-19 more than farmworkers.

Farmworkers do not have the luxury of........

© USA TODAY