Thursday, July 10, 2008
ANOTHER HEAT STROKE DEATH-HELP THE FARMWORKERS:
It's summertime, and the living is easy. But not for farmworkers in the USA. For these people, who supply so much of your table, this can be the hardest time of the year, as the bosses drive them in in unbearable heat of summer in California. The following news is from the United Farm Workers of the USA, and it tells the sad story of yet another death in the fields and what you can do to protest and try to prevent such occurrences in the future.
Another farm worker just died from heat stroke.
E-mail Gov. Schwarzenegger today!
I need to share some news with you that breaks my heart. Yesterday another farm worker’s life was lost due to heat stroke. Abdon Felix Garcia was the third farm worker heat death in the last 8 weeks and the 12th farm worker heat death since CA Governor Schwarzenegger took office. Then I need to ask for your immediate help to e-mail Gov. Schwarzenegger and California legislatures today and tell them this has to stop now.
Yesterday, 42 year-old farm worker Abdon Felix Garcia--father of three--died after spending the morning and early afternoon working for Sunview Vineyards in Arvin. According to the coroner's office, Felix was returning to Delano in a company vehicle and he became unresponsive. He was taken by ambulance to Delano Regional Medical Center when he later died. The coroner says Felix's body core temperature was measured at 108 degrees just 13 minutes before his death.
The second worker who died was 64 year-old Jose Macarena Hernandez. Tomorrow I will attend his funeral. Jose died during a record-breaking heat wave on June 20 while harvesting butternut squash in Santa Maria on land owned by Sunrise Growers. According to news reports, temperatures reached 110 degrees that day.
And then there was the heat death of 17 year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez who died while laboring in the Stockton area grape vines.
Governor Schwarzenegger came to Maria Isabel’s funeral and said he would do everything possible to prevent this from happening again. But with the death of Abdon Felix Garcia and Jose Hernandez--the 11th and 12th farm workers who have died since Governor Schwarzenegger took office--it is clear the state does not have the capacity to protect farm workers. And now as yet another heat wave hits California, we must do everything we can to insure that no more farm workers fall victim to the heat because the laws written to protect them are not enforced.
We are not ready to accept more farm workers dying. It’s time to put a law in place that will allow farm workers to protect themselves!
Thank you for caring.
Arturo S. Rodriguez
Please go to THIS LINK to send the following letter to the California authorities ie Governor Schwarzenegger.
I am deeply saddened and horrified to learn that another farm worker's life was just lost due to heat stroke on Wed. July 9th. In 2006 you enacted California's first permanent heat regulations. Unfortunately the laws on the books are not the laws in the fields. I'm begging you to take action so no more farm workers die.
Abdon Felix Garcia, 42, was the third farm worker heat death in the last 8 weeks and the 12th farm worker heat death since you took office. Jose Macarena, 64, died during a record-breaking heat wave on June 20 while harvesting butternut squash in Santa Maria during 110 degree weather. Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, 17, died while laboring in the Stockton area grape vines on May 23.
When you came to Maria Isabel's funeral you said you would do everything possible to prevent this from happening again. But it is clear with the death of Abdon Felix Garcia and Jose Hernandez--the 11th and 12th farm workers who have died since you took office--the state does not have the capacity to protect farm workers.
Unless and until we empower farm workers in the workplace, people such as the latest three victims, Abdon Felix Garcia, Jose Macarena Hernandez, Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez will continue to die unnecessarily.
Speaker Emeritus Fabian Nunez has introduced legislation which has moved out of the assembly and which is now in the state senate. It will make it easier for farm workers to organize and enforce the laws that the state cannot enforce.
As yet another heat wave hits the state, we must do everything we can to insure that no more farm workers fall victim to the heat because the laws written to protect them are not enforced. We need you to commit to signing this bill and protecting the people who labor so hard in the fields.