Farmworkers Are Essential: Policy Recommendations + Actions

Farmworkers have been designated “essential workers” by the Department of Homeland Security. This means their work is critical to the basic infrastructure of the nation, and they’re being asked to continue working while others stay home.

Yet, these essential workers are even more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 due to substandard living and working conditions, lack of access to medical care and to handwashing facilities at work, and lack of workplace protections.

SAF signed on a letter with policy priorities and recommendations related to farmworkers and COVID-19, written and sent to Congress by six national organizations. The recommendations include:

  • Ensure full and equal access to Unemployment Insurance for all farmworkers impacted directly and indirectly by COVID-19, regardless of employer size.
  • Provide paid sick leave and emergency family leave for all farmworkers, regardless of size of farm or employer.
  • Ensure free access to COVID-19 medical tests and treatment, regardless of immigration status.
  • Cease immigration enforcement activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the exception of serious criminal law violations.

Read the full list of economic, educational, health, and immigration priorities and recommendations here.

Take Action:
Sign the UFW petition telling Congress to provide hazard pay for farmworkers who are left out of COVID-19 federal aid

Read the latest about farmworkers and COVID-19 in the news:
+ From the Sacramento Bee:
Immigrant farmworkers feed us despite the coronavirus pandemic. They deserve better.
+ From the News & Observer by SAF alum Aaron Sánchez-Guerra:
Coronavirus poses a threat to a major NC food producer: the immigrant farmworker
N.C. agriculture avoids labor shortage after State Department removes visa restrictions

Additional SAF information on COVID-19:
+ Link to How We're Supporting Students & Farmworkers here
+ Link to COVID-19 Resources for Farmworkers and Outreach Workers here