USA: Mexican and Central American workers strike against fruit companies for violating their right to health during the pandemic

Workers from companies in the Yakima Valley in Washington, mainly Mexicans and Central Americans, have complained that companies have not taken sufficient measures to ensure their health and safety throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.  The companies include Monson Fruit, Jack Frost Fruit, Allan Brothers Fruit Company, Columbia Reach, Matson Fruit and Madden Fruit.  In press articles, the companies have expressed their compliance with guidelines, although workers say otherwise.

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre contacted Monson Fruit, Jack Frost Fruit, Allan Brothers Fruit Company and Columbia Reach to respond to the allegations; the companies did not respond.  We were not able to contact Matson Fruit or Madden Fruit.

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Company non-response
27 May 2020

Allan Brothers Fruit Company did not respond

Author: Allan Brothers Fruit Company

Company non-response
27 May 2020

Columbia Reach did not respond

Author: Columbia Reach

Company non-response
27 May 2020

Jack Frost Fruit did not respond

Author: Jack Frost Fruit

Company non-response
27 May 2020

Monson Fruit Company did not respond

Author: Monson Fruit Company

27 May 2020

Yakima Valley fruit companies say they're following safety guidelines; protesting workers disagree

Author: Yaki Herald (USA)

...Protesting workers want management to provide hazard pay and stronger safety measures.

Workers “shouldn’t have to be put in the position to choose between their job and their well-being and their family’s well-being,” Franks said during an interview at Matson Fruit.

Officials at all three companies maintain they have worked to meet federal, state and local health guidelines, including those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state Department of Labor and Industries and the Yakima Health District...

All three warehouses have reported cases of COVID-19, and Yakima Health District figures provided to the Herald-Republic Tuesday afternoon show there are about 310 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the agriculture and food production industry — roughly 15% of total cases, which surpassed 2,000 Tuesday.

Word of confirmed cases spread among fruit packers in recent weeks. That has generated concern among workers over whether companies have been doing enough to keep them safe...

The biggest demand among protesters is hazard pay.

A $2-per-hour boost in pay has provided by some retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Fred Meyer and Walmart...

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