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Wasco Farmworkers Strike. They Want Masks, Gloves.



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After learning from the media that dozens of coworkers tested positive for the coronavirus, about 50 workers at a Wasco pistachio farm went on strike Thursday.
portrait of Armando Elenes, VP, United Farm Workers union
“They wanted to keep everything confidential, and at the same time, people getting contaminated.” — Armando Elenes, vice president, United Farm Workers
The strikers are demanding free face coverings and gloves from Primex Farms so they can protect themselves from COVID-19, said Armando Elenes, vice president of the United Farm Workers union.

Workers Seek Better Sanitation, Info About Positive Tests

The workers are also seeking better sanitation measures at the worksite and information about coworkers who have tested positive.

“They wanted to keep everything confidential, and at the same time, people getting contaminated,” Elenes said of Primex Farms, which has 5,000 acres of pistachio orchards in California and grows other nuts and dried fruits.
A Primex official said that the company would issue a statement later Thursday.

TV Report: 31 Workers Tested Positive

Workers learned of the cases about two weeks ago when fellow workers started getting sick but only heard that 31 had tested positive from a report on local television, Elenes said.
Elenes said a group of about 50 workers was participating in the strike and would decide each day whether to continue. Other workers at the farm did not go on strike, he said.