Farmworkers on the front page

The Florida farmworkers made front page news in The Guardian. The news website ran a story on how the summer heat is impacting farmworkers in Florida and other states. Long time Immokalee farmworker Tere Cruz was interviewed for the article. So was our coordinator Nezahualcoyotl ‘Neza’ Xiuhtecutli. Cruz: “When it’s really hot that by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, people just can’t work any more. We’re not animals, we’re human beings, but the bosses keep pushing and pushing.”

The article points out that farmworkers have no federal protection from heat exposure in the workplace. Cruz knows how that feels, having been a farmworker in Immokalee for 15 years. She explains that workers often will get too hot and vomit from drinking too much water too fast. Yet they face immense pressure to continue working through heat stress. 

‘Piece rate pay is big problem’

Xiuhtecutli, general coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida, says that the way that farmworkers get paid aggravates the heat stress. “When they’re paid by the piece rate, that encourages workers to exert themselves even more. When they’re part of a crew, say a person slows down because he has to take a water break or use the restroom. Then they become the guy who slows down the crew.”

Support our lobby for protective legislation

To help the Florida farmworkers with the challenges of working in the extreme heat, please consider becoming a volunteer for the Farmworker Association of Florida. Or make a donation today so we can continue our lobby for legislation to protect the farmworkers. 

You can find the whole story on the website of the Guardian: “We’re not animals, we’re human beings’: US farm workers labor in deadly heat with few protections”.

Farmworkers on the front page of the Guardian
A farmworker in St Paul, Oregon, where a worker died of heat exposure last month Photograph: Nathan Howard/AP

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