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Farmworkers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis

Source: FOXLA.COM | April 1, 2020

On Cesar Chavez Day, which celebrates the legacy of the labor movement activist, Actor Edward Olmos recognizes farmworkers’ sacrifice.

FOX 11 reached out to Olmos to ask if he wanted to make a video tribute to first responders.

He eloquently included the workers who make sure we have a secure food supply in our grocery stores.“For all you people who are in the fields, you are the backbone of us as human beings, bless your hearts,” Olmos says in the video.

The Department of Homeland Security designates farmworkers as essential but if they get sick, many don’t have the option to stay home because lack health insurance or don’t qualify for sick pay and need their paychecks.

Reiter Brothers Inc. Tanner Sherman production manages a strawberry farm in Camarillo that grows berries for the company Driscoll’s. Since the pandemic, the company is ensuring heightened sanitary safety measures like frequent hand washing and hands-free work as much as possible.“With the strawberries, they’re harvesting every other row.

Typically, they’re harvesting every single row and we found it wasn’t that six feet,” says Sherman.

The Community Alliance with Family Farmers sent FOX 11 a statement that says:

“If you ate today, thank a farmworker. Lately everyone is asking what and who is ‘essential’ to keep our communities functioning. But there is little doubt about whether those who are growing and harvesting our food are. In good times and during crisis, it’s important that we not forget this. Farmworkers are essential. And their safety is our number one priority. We’re working with farmers across California to assure that these hard-working men and women stay healthy, double-down on food safety measures and stay employed despite market disruptions.”

The California Farmers Union also contributed a statement:

“Farmers are facing unprecedented challenges right now due to the COVID-19 crisis, but are still working each day to make sure everyone has access to the food they need. Farmers rely upon farmworkers to maintain a stable and reliable food supply. Farmworkers are making sacrifices right now to ensure that food is readily available to consumers throughout this crisis. We applaud their hard work to maintain our nation’s food security now and in the future.“

All of you who are thinking about your first responders, please keep a good solid thought for all the migrant workers and all the people who are working in the fields right now,” says Olmos.