Friday, October 7, 2022

Play

Following a settlement with tribes, SD phases In voting-access reforms; older voters: formidable factor in Maine gubernatorial race; walking: a simple way to boost heart health.

Play

Biden makes a major move on marijuana laws; the U.S. and its allies begin exercises amid North Korean threats; and Generation Z says it's paying close attention to the 2022 midterms.

Play

Rural residents are more vulnerable to a winter wave of COVID-19, branding could be key for rural communities attracting newcomers, and the Lummi Nation's totem pole made it from Washington state to D.C.

Farm Labor: The Forgotten “Essential Workers”

Play

Wednesday, May 13, 2020   

NEW YORK -- Undocumented New York farm workers may be risking their lives and livelihoods during the COVID pandemic, but they get few federal or state protections.

On April 8, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala became the first New York farm worker known to die from COVID-19. Emma Kreyche, director of advocacy, outreach and education for the Worker Justice Center of New York, said that although farm laborers are recognized as essential workers, because they are undocumented they have little job security, often live in group settings in rural areas with limited access to health care -- and when they do get sick, they are fearful of seeking medical care.

"The COVID pandemic is really underscoring and highlighting the various systems failures that have played upon this community for many, many years," she said.

While the agricultural industry is getting billions of dollars in federal grants and loans under the stimulus bills, she said, no rules have been created to protect the health of farm workers.

In January, New York's Farm Laborers' Fair Labor Practices Act went into effect, extending some basic labor rights to farm workers in the state. However, Kreyche noted, the law contains few, if any, protections for farm workers' health or safety.

"We still don't have any clear directives from the state about how employers should be handling issues around isolating workers, ensuring there is a setup for quarantine to be maintained," she said.

Prior to the COVID pandemic, she said, farm work already was among the most hazardous occupations.

Efforts are under way to include undocumented workers in the next federal stimulus package. Kreyche said she believes there's little hope that will happen, but added that the state can take steps to help ensure that vulnerable farm workers receive some of the protections given to others, "having enforceable health and safety regulations pertaining to agricultural operations and farm labor camps where workers are housed."

She said it's also imperative that state lawmakers create a source of support for those who cannot apply for or qualify for unemployment insurance.

More information is online at wjcny.org.


get more stories like this via email

In a recent lawsuit, a federal judge found nearly 10 examples in which the State of South Dakota had made it difficult for Native Americans to register to vote. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

This election season, South Dakota is starting to implement voting-access reforms in light of a recent settlement with Native American tribes…


Social Issues

Between rising inflation and the ups and downs of the stock market, it isn't surprising that folks are concerned about their own financial situation…

Social Issues

The U.S. Postal Service is hiring 28,000 seasonal employees ahead of the surge in end-of-year holiday letters and packages for facilities in Michigan …


The average monthly Social Security benefit in August was $1,546. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The roughly 2.4 million Ohioans who rely on Social Security income are expected to get a big boost in benefits, but advocates for the program are …

Social Issues

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and her challenger, former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, both are courting votes from Maine's largest contingency -- …

Methane released into the atmosphere is responsible for at least 25% of current global warming, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. (permianmap.org)

Environment

Ahead of revised methane regulations expected from the federal government, a new study shows that gas flaring in oil-producing states such as Texas …

Health and Wellness

Even for Virginians who think they're too busy to exercise, experts say there's one surefire way to squeeze in a modest workout: walking. Although …

Social Issues

Groups challenging the criminal consequences for failing to pay rent in Arkansas say they'll take another run at it, perhaps as a class-action …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021