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Farmworkers Are 'Essential' During COVID-19, But Are Left Unprotected And Underpaid

David Rodriguez / The Salinas Californian
Norcal harvesting fieldworkers pick strawberries early morning on March 31, 2020.

On this edition of Your Call, we’ll speak with Dr. Ann López, executive director of the Center for Farmworker Families about how California's farmworkers are still unprotected, months after the COVID-19 crisis began.

The US government has deemed farmworkers essential workers, but they are still underpaid and struggle to make ends meet. Dr. Lopez says most of California's farmworkers make $20,000 a year or less. In California, two-thirds of more than 500,000 farmworkers are undocumented, leaving them without health insurance or financial relief if they get sick. What resources are available for farmworkers during the COVID-19 crisis? And what systemic changes are needed to ensure they have basic rights and dignity?


Dr. Ann López, executive director of Center for Farmworker Families

Andrea, an undocumented farmworker who has worked in California's fields for decades

Web Resources:

Facing South: Who takes care of the farmworkers' children?

CalMatters, Kate Cimini: Trump is considering cutting farmworker pay during the crisis. Don’t do it, California growers say

InsideClimateNews, Evelyn Nieves: 'Essential' but Unprotected, Farmworkers Live in Fear of Covid-19 but Keep Working

Civil Eats: Farmworkers Are in the Coronavirus Crosshairs