California's Farmworkers: Essential but At Risk

August 5, 2020

Agricultural workers in California are pressured by their circumstances and employers to keep working in unsafe conditions that increase their susceptibility to contracting COVID-19. Farmworkers should not have to put their lives on the line to maintain the food supply chain. 

Cal-IHEA Research Fellow Alein Y. Haro developed a new resource, California's Farmworkers: Essential but At Risk, which provides regional and racial/ethnic analysis of California voter support for extending health and paid sick leave protections to all agricultural workers, regardless of their legal status. The brief also outlines the steps that the California State Legislature, local governments, Health & Human Services Agencies, and labor unions can take to ensure that all workers in the fields, their families, and their communities are protected from COVID-19.

The findings offer valuable insight as California Governor Gavin Newsom announced targeted actions to increase outreach and educational campaigns to decrease the risk of COVID-19 among farmworkers. One lesson is clear: stakeholders need to engage in cross-sector collaboration to protect the health of farmworkers.