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20 Apr 2020

Cameron Probert, Tri-City Herald (USA)

USA: Farmer labour unions sue Washington state over unsafe working conditions in COVID-19 context

"Farm worker unions sue Washington state for safer work conditions due to coronavirus", 16 April 2020

Farm workers around Washington state are worried they are being put at risk for the coronavirus.

Thousands of workers are already pruning grapevines and fruit trees and getting ready to cut asparagus, while thousands more will soon be arriving to tend to other crops.

And if they get sick, food production could grind to a halt.

Two unions, the United Farm Workers of America and Familias Unidas Por La Justicia AFL-CIO, believe the state hasn’t done enough to protect farms from becoming the next hot spot for the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19...

...Agricultural workers contend they are being left in situations where they can’t practice social distancing...

...They also don’t have access to hand-washing stations when they are in the fields, sometimes having to walk a quarter-mile to clean their hands, said Nicholson, who is based in Richland...

...“We want binding rules so there is clarity of what is expected. We are hearing that there are growers that aren’t doing anything until they know what the state is requiring of them,” he [Nicholson] said.