There have been more than a few news stories portraying farm workers as victims during this COVID-19 pandemic, with FLCs and growers depicted as uncaring exploiters of labor. It pains me to think that any agricultural employer in California or elsewhere would not take needed extraordinary steps to protect their workers. From what I’ve heard from our members, the opposite of what these stories depict is closer to the truth.
Among some of the ways FLCs are taking care of their workers:
- 1) An FLC who had a large supply of toilet paper for his many crews. He opened a ‘company store’ and sold small supplies to each worker in need at the bulk cost he had paid. This same FLC has begun producing sanitizing agents, for hand use, and another for sanitizing other surfaces. He has also donated N-95 respirators to medical professionals in need.
- 2) Another contractor who uses H2A workers has set up a separate housing facility to quarantine any worker showing possible signs of symptoms of COVID-19. It was a significant expense, but warranted under the current situation.
- 3) An FLC who purchased temporal thermometers for each crew leader to scan workers foreheads as they come in to work. A 100 degree or higher reading gets that worker sent home with instructions for quarantine, and also information about local clinics available for additional evaluation.
- 4) An FLC who has purchased and distributed kerchiefs to each of his hundreds of workers to have available as face covering if they so desire.
- 5) A contractor who temporarily increased wages for his workers to show his appreciation for their showing up to work in an enclosed location doing very heavy work.
I’m sure there are many, many more stories of how FLCs are going the extra mile to show his/her appreciation for their essential workers. Most of these employers note that their workers are overall very happy to have a job and a paycheck. These workers understand the predicament of many immigrant workers in the food services, hotel, and domestic services and other non-essential industries who find themselves out of work.
At CFLCA we’re also going into fundraising mode for our annual Farmworker Scholarship Fund. This is one of the many ways we help represent the industry and our people who find ways to give back to these hardworking farmworker families. We have helped raise and distribute over $160K in scholarship funds over the past four years. And the need continues. Please go to our Scholarship page found under Programs on our website. It’s another good thing you can do to show appreciation for our workers.