Photograph by David Bacon
Visit https://capitalandmain.com/covid-related-strikes-hit-washingtons-apple-sheds-0514 to read Bacon's article about the farmworkers on strike. The following is an excerpt:
Employees of 4 Yakima Valley apple packinghouses are on strike, demanding hazard pay and safer working conditions. Over 400 workers have joined the strike. “The most important demand for us is that we have a healthy workplace and protection from the virus,” said Agustin Lopez, a strike leader at Allan Brothers, one of the packing houses that has so far refused to meet the workers' demands.
Agricultural workers are considered essential workers in Washington State. But even though Governor Inslee has mandated social distancing protocols and health-protective conditions, most of the packing houses have not complied.
The strike is supported by the Washington State Labor Council which issued a "Call to Action" to support the strike:
Please share this CALL TO ACTION
1. DONATE To support the Strike Fund for workers financial need while on strike:
2. PRESSURE THE COMPANIES - TAKE ACTION Take five minutes to call each of these companies and urge them to negotiate with their workers and not retaliate against them for striking! 1) Allan Bros. Fruit in Naches, WA (509) 653-2625 2) Hansen Fruit in Yakima, WA (509) 457-4153 3) Jack Frost Fruit Co. in Yakima, WA (509) 248-5231 4) Matson Fruit Co. in Selah, WA (509) 697-7100 5) Monson Fruit Co. in Selah, WA (509) 697-9175 6) Columbia Reach in Yakima, WA (509) 457-8001
3. CALL Governor Inslee and the Attorney General's office to demand that workers receive immediate hazard pay, including time lost during the strike. Register your dissatisfaction with the Emergency Rules for Housing in Agriculture, and ask them to assign additional state staff to ensure safety precautions are being followed! Demand a Legislative investigation into why farmworkers are being treated differently than other essential workers during this pandemic. Why is the agricultural industry continuously allowed to put profit over the lives of farmworkers?
Governor Inslee's office: (360) 902-4111 (option 2 to skip the recording and leave a comment)