The White House and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue call them “foreign guest workers,” as if they’re here in the U.S. on some sort of vacation.
Who are they really? Immigrants working on farms under risky conditions, for low wages, with no healthcare benefits.
Now the Trump administration wants to use the pandemic as an excuse to slash their wages even further.
Farmworkers regularly suffer from substandard housing, poverty wages and little to no legal protections. An estimated 50 percent of farmworkers are undocumented, facing the added risks of detention and deportation. (Studies show that these workers take jobs that American citizens reject, because the work is hard, and pays too little).
Farmworkers have been designated “essential” because we need them to get food from the farm to the grocery store. Because their jobs expose them to pesticides, they have a higher risk for respiratory illnesses and, yes, COVID-19.
Farmworkers and other workers in the food chain need additional support, not a reduction in pay.