8 a.m.- 2 p.m., Thursday, March 29, at state Capitol
Butler heat bill would make it easier for farm workers to
protect themselves after state, courts fail to protect them
Sacramento, Calif. — Dozens of farm workers and supporters will join the United Farm Workers in Sacramento Thursday to lobby for the union-sponsored AB 2346, the Farm Worker Safety Act by Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Los Angeles), which would let farm workers enforce shade and water requirements Cal-OSHA has failed to carry out to prevent farm workers from dying or becoming ill when temperatures soar.
At least 16 farm workers have died since 2005, including the 2008 heat death of 17-year-old farm worker Maria Isavel Vasquez Jimenez. Maria Isavel collapsed after working in the blazing sun for nine hours without accessible water or shade at a Farmington, Calif.-area vineyard. Instead of summoning medical aid, Merced Farm Labor Contractors told the girl’s fiancé to take her to a clinic in Lodi. By then, her core temperature was 108 degrees on a day the state work safety agency issued a heat-danger warning to employers. She died two days later. The contracting firm was fined earlier for similar violations of the state heat regulation.
AB 2346 would allow farm workers themselves to enforce mandatory shade and drinking water requirements by taking delinquent employers to court and holds growers, in addition to farm labor contractors, responsible for the safety of persons who work their fields.
AB 2346 is limited to protecting farm workers from preventable heat death and illness.
WHO: Farm workers, United Farm Workers leaders and supporters.
WHAT: Lobbying for AB 2346, the Farm Worker Safety Act.
WHEN: Thursday, March 29, 2012, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Farm workers from Central Valley.
WHERE: State Capitol, Sacramento 95814.
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