Migrant Laborers Dying in Severe Heat
Alternet.com is connecting the dots, and has noticed
an alarming trend. Migrant workers are dropping like flies in 100+
degree heat and few seem to care.
A week ago, 46-year-old Ramiro Carrillo passed away
at his Selma, CA home after picking nectarines for about four hours
in 112-degree heat at Sun Valley Packing. Two weeks ago 42-year-old
Abdon Felix died after working in the fields at Sunview Vineyards
near Delano, California. His body temperature was 108 degrees when
he arrived at the hospital. Last month Jose Macarena, 64, collapsed
in a field in Santa Barbara County and later died during a 110-degree
day. Back in May, 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, who
was two months pregnant, died in a vineyard near Stockton, after
working eight hours in the heat without adequate water or shade.
When she collapsed, the labor contractors who hired her opted to
not rush her to the hospital and instead attempted to cool her
off in a car by putting rubbing alcohol on her skin.
The site noted that with even more extreme heat
on it's way in California's central valley, there could be a
surge in farm worker deaths, unless there is stronger
enforcement of labor laws designed to prevent heat related deaths.
National Weather Service is recommending that people use swimming
pools and drink plenty of water to avoid
heat related illness, but it seems that this message isn't going
over well with farmers with field workers.
of global warming are exacerbated by the chemical pesticides
used in the fields, while undocumented farmworkers
who come to the U.S. to earn more money are deemed "illegal
aliens" and denied basic human rights while putting food on
our tables. With multiple factors in play, it's no wonder the average
citizen doesn't know much about the food he or she consumes, who
helped bring it to market or even why undocumented people are driven
to work in such extreme heat.
From the story, Alternet reports that workers are
only given minimal sun protection, with the use of small umbrellas.
Water is often not provided, and the water that is at the field
is often far away from the work area, and may very well be warm
from the scorching sun.
For more on this story, and how Arnold Schwarzenegger
vetoed the Fair Treatment for Farmworkers Act. visit alternet.org