All leaders must frame their COVID-19 responses within existing obligations under international law. Whilst states may temporarily close their borders to limit transmission, any such measures should be non-discriminatory, necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all circumstances. It is understandable and proper that a leader’s first priority is to take care of the people they govern. But in a global crisis, attention must also be paid to those groups of marginalised people whose situations transcend national borders: refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Furthermore, public health measures put in place to protect citizens should not exclude those with irregular status, or be used to further isolate or punish them. Read more here.
Still, the novel coronavirus has continued to rage through the ranks of Yakima’s agricultural workers and the broader county population in a pandemic that health district officials believe to be increasingly driven by what happens outside of the workplace, where masks are often not worn in stores and elsewhere, and holiday weekends result in case counts spiking.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports: Workers at the Columbia Reach plant in Yakima have had to tap into their inner strength as their strike approaches the four-week mark. Columbia Reach is the last fruit-packing plant with workers on strike. While workers at other plants have been able to reach agreements with employers, those at Columbia Reach have yet to even have an in-person meeting with company officials. The company has only agreed to one-on-one conversations with human resources, said Rosalinda Gonzalez, a member of the workers’ committee. “They don’t want to meet (us) as a group,” she said. You Can Help: Call Columbia Reach, Yakima, WA: (509) 457-8001 Urge management to to meet with workers and respond to demands https://www.yakimaherald.com/special_projects/coronavirus/workers-seek-meeting-as-strike-continues-at-columbia-reach-pack/article_0ce6b371-45ff-5571-8e47-a5a42dbc04f2.html
Over two days from June 9th and 10th, Jesuit Ministries in Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma will host a virtual Vigil (a devotional watching or keeping awake in the Catholic tradition) calling for support of and financial relief for undocumented workers in Washington State during this time of COVID-19. This effort was initially conceived and supported by over 430 organizations across Washington State in a letter to the Governor, including several Jesuit organizations. This vigil is in support of our collective efforts to demand dignity, justice and wellness for our immigrant & refugee communities. FACEBOOK EVENT HERE The Vigil will include statements from faith leaders, state representatives, undocumented workers, and service providers, along with prayers and music. Previously, these Jesuit ministries authored a letter and action alert calling for a WA State fund to support these workers. Vigil leaders and presenters come from Jesuit works in Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma, numbering almost 2,500 households, , and hundreds of their parishioners will participate online. There will also be a limited number of participants standing in vigil in person at St. Joseph Parish in Seattle. The vigil will be widely publicized in all three communities and across the state. We expect there will be at least 200 participants online. WHO: Jesuit ministries in Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma live-streaming on Zoom and providing live witness at St. Joseph in Seattle (932 18th Ave E, Seattle, WA, 98112. WHAT: A Vigil in support of undocumented workers in Washington State. FACEBOOK EVENT HERE REGISTER HERE WHEN:
There have been strikes that have occurred at seven Yakima County fruit growers and packing companies over the last three weeks, and various news outlets have been covering those strikes. The striking workers have been seeking safer working conditions, increased transparency from companies regarding COVID-19 cases, and hazard pay. . . . “Walkouts that started May 7 spread to six Yakima fruit packing operations. Workers demanded improved social distancing and sanitizing measures to protect themselves against the coronavirus, as well as hazard pay and salary increases. “Inspectors from the state’s Department of Labor and Industries and the Yakima Health District cleared the companies, saying they meet the recommended guidelines.” Read more here.
From the moment the coronavirus began spreading in the United States, advocates and experts warned that ICE’s network of detention centers posed a serious problem — medical experts at the Department of Homeland Security called the facilities a “tinderbox” for the spread of the disease — and said they expected detainees to die absent changes in ICE detention policies and priorities. As one of the most visible arms of the Trump administration’s ultra-hardline immigration agenda, ICE has resisted those changes. Because people in ICE custody are held for civil rather than criminal violations, the agency could release them at any time. Though ICE has made limited releases in some areas, including the Otay Mesa Detention Center, it continues to hold more than 26,600 people, many in for-profit facilities with abysmal health and safety records. The agency has tested only a fraction of those in its custody — 2,394 people in total, as of Saturday. Among that population, more than half, 1,201 individuals, have tested positive for Covid-19. An additional 44 ICE employees at detention centers have also tested positive. Read more here.
Familias Unidas por la Justicia and Community to Community Development are currently supporting six farmworker strikes in Yakima County in solidarity with workers who have walked off the job due to health and safety concerns around Covid-19. Workers at Allan Brothers Fruit walked out on May 7 after at least 14 of their co-workers tested positive for Covid-19. Yakima County has the highest single-county infection rate of coronavirus on the West Coast. Thanks to pressure from farmworkers and their advocates Emergency Rules for Housing in Agriculture went into effect on May 18. However these rules are not adequate for this pandemic as they do not require the ratios for housing, showers, sinks, cooking and food storage facilities, laundry, and bunkbeds to reflect CDC social distancing protocols and will likely lack proper enforcement. You can support by taking any or all of the below actions!
- Call the fruit companies
- Allan Bros. Fruit in Naches, WA (509) 653-2625
- Hansen Fruit in Yakima, WA (509) 457-4153
- Jack Frost Fruit Co. in Yakima, WA (509) 248-5231
- Matson Fruit Co. in Selah, WA (509) 697-7100
- Monson Fruit Co. in Selah, WA (509) 697-9175
- Columbia Reach in Yakima, WA (509) 457-8001
- Contact the Governor's Office and Office of the Attorney General
- Governor Inslee's Office: 360-902-4111 (option 2 to skip the recording and leave a comment)
- Office of the Attorney General: Labor and Personnel contact form
It's Time Our Elected Officials #ActOnIt and Move Their Talk into Action to #FreeThemAllGo to https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2632349890425924 to watch and share La Resistencia’s latest video, featuring testimonies from family members with detained loved ones, Senator Rebecca Saldaña, essential workers, formerly detained community members, lawyers, Shutdown Coalition members and more. Everyone has a shared message: #FreeThemAll! Detention Centers have been and always will be a public health crisis. Both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tacoma City Council, state legislators and Gov. Inslee have all expressed concern over the neglect and mistreatment of people detained at NWDC. It’s time they #ActOnIt to #FreeThemAll from NWDC and take steps to #ShutDownNWDC during this global pandemic. This week, you can help us pressure our electeds to send a letter to the local ICE Field Office Director Nathalie Asher, urging her to free everyone from NWDC immediately. Emptying the cages is not just the right thing to do for public health, it’s a path to shutting the facility down!
3 Things You Can Do TODAYEmail and call elected officials. You can find scripts below in this email or a text-only version online at https://docs.google.com/document/d/13CHKUD7bI2WkiNsvLjW_1aLG3LXvUpogMBw7i68wMLo/edit After you've sent those emails & calls, make it public! Tweet at your elected officials, tagging them. And share our video, FB post and IG post on your social media! Share this CTA, take a picture of yourself with the text #ActOnIt #ShutDownNWDC #FreeThemAll and tag 5 friends to join you in action. Tag us @LaResistenciaNW
Today's Action Contact Info & TemplatesGovernor Inslee
Governor Jay Inslee, 360-902-4111
David Postman, Chief of Staff, email@example.com, 360-902-4112
Alejandro Sanchez, Special Assistant, Alejandro.Sanchez@gov.wa.gov, 360-902-4124
Molly Voris, Senior Policy Advisor, Public Health and Health Care, firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-902-0557Tacoma City Council, Mayor Woodards
Mayor Victoria Woodards, (253) 594-7848, Victoria.email@example.com
CM John Hines, (253) 591-5470, firstname.lastname@example.org
CM Robert Thoms, (253) 594-7848, email@example.com
Deputy Mayor Keith Blocker, (253) 591-5470, firstname.lastname@example.org
CM Catherine Ushka,(253) 594-7848, email@example.com
CM Lillian Hunter, (253) 594-7848, firstname.lastname@example.org
CM Conor McCarthy, (253) 594-7848, email@example.com
CM Kristina Walker, (253) 591-5470, firstname.lastname@example.org
CM Chris Beale, (253) 591-5470, email@example.com
Assistant to the City Manager Anita Gallagher, (253) 591-5133, firstname.lastname@example.orgState Legislators
House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, Laurie.Jinkins@leg.wa.gov
Legislative Assistant for Laurie Jinkins, Ann Dasch, Ann.Dasch@leg.wa.gov
Senator Jeannie Darneille, J.Darneille@leg.wa.gov
Legislative Assistant for Darneille, Lisa Fisch, email@example.com
Representative Jake Fey, Jake.Fey@leg.wa.gov
Legislative Assistant for Jake Fey, Anna Nepomuceno, Anna.Nepomuceno@leg.wa.gov
Draft Email Template for GovernorEmail addresses to send to: firstname.lastname@example.org Alejandro.Sanchez@gov.wa.gov email@example.com Dear Governor Inslee, I am a [WASHINGTON RESIDENT/HEALTHCARE WORKER/ETC] and I am [WRITING/CALLING] to ask that you write a follow up letter (view template letter here) to ICE Field Director Nathalie Asher, urging her to release everyone from NWDC and provide weekly updates on the number of people released. In your own words, “We do not accept preventable death in Washington.” Conditions in detention were already deplorable, but under the threat of a global pandemic it is imperative to release everyone in detention before it is too late. We know there are over 900 positive cases of COVID-19 in detention sites across the country, minimal testing and transparency from ICE, and at least one “recovered positive” inside NWDC right now. We also received news from people detained that ICE officers at NWDC are staging photos in a pod under quarantine (where one person is awaiting a test) to make it look like social distancing is possible. Please act on your written commitment to “protect the health of those detained at the Northwest Detention Center” and amplify the voices of your constituents in demanding mass release and transparency from ICE. Sincerely, [YOUR NAME] [ANY ORGANIZATIONS YOU REPRESENT]
Draft Email / Phone Call for Mayor and City Councilkristina.firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Victoria.email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Dear Tacoma City Council Members, Mayor Victoria Woodards, and Assistant to the City Manager Anita Gallagher, I am [WRITING/CALLING] to urge you to follow up on your April 24th letter to ICE with the following actions to protect the health and safety of the people inside the Northwest Detention Center:
- Pass a non-binding resolution calling for the immediate release of all people from NWDC
- Write a follow up letter (view template letter here) to ICE Field Director Nathalie Asher, urging her to release everyone from NWDC and provide weekly updates on the number of people released
Draft Email / Phone Call for State LegislatorsJ.Darneille@leg.wa.gov firstname.lastname@example.org Jake.Fey@leg.wa.gov Anna.Nepomuceno@leg.wa.gov Laurie.Jinkins@leg.wa.gov Ann.Dasch@leg.wa.gov Dear House Speaker Jinkins, Senator Darneille, and Representative Fey, I am a [WASHINGTON RESIDENT/HEALTHCARE WORKER/ETC] and I would like to thank you for contacting ICE in DC on May 5th with your concerns about the well being of people detained at NWDC. I am [WRITING/CALLING] today to remind you that the privately-run Northwest Detention Center continues to pose an urgent public health threat, and to ask that you write a follow up letter (view template letter here) to ICE Field Director Nathalie Asher, urging her to release everyone from NWDC and provide weekly updates on the number of people released. In the words of your colleague Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, “It is wrong and immoral to profit from the misfortune of others.” It’s time to act on those words. Conditions in detention were already deplorable, but under the threat of a global pandemic it is imperative to release everyone in detention. We know there are over 900 positive cases of COVID-19 in detention sites across the country — and at least one “recovered positive” inside NWDC. We also received news from people detained that ICE officers at NWDC are staging photos in a pod under quarantine (where one person is awaiting a test) to make it look like social distancing is possible. Please act now, before it is too late. Sincerely, [YOUR NAME] [ANY ORGANIZATIONS YOU REPRESENT]
Updates from InsideStay updated on conditions inside by listening to testimony from those detained at the NWDC here. Since late March people detained have staged at least 3 hunger strikes and one work stoppage. All calling for immediate release of all people detained who are “sitting ducks” for a contagion of COVID19. Detention conditions have worsened in the middle of the global pandemic; we've received reports of scabies, mistreatment from guards, denied medical care and access to COVID19 tests, transfers to other facilities, and ongoing deportations. People detained staged a SOS action at the yard last April 15th, sending us a distress signal in hopes we would listen and act. There are over 900 positive cases in detention centers across the country. ICE rate of testing is low because they have tested a small number of people out of the 28,000 plus people they continue detaining. This is why we support the call to #FreeThemAll and #ShutDownNWDC.
Download #FreeThemAll Coloring Book(https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5917516cb8a79b8c6e2bf67e/t/5ebc440fb499bb7eea6709bb/1589396528347/FreeThemAll_Final_Optimized.pdf) A group of 20 artists from across the US released a print-at-home coloring book to raise funds for undocumented communities impacted by COVID-19. In exchange for a free download, the artists are asking folks to make a donation to one of several funds listed on our website, which includes Resistencia! You can download the entire book (more than 50 pages!) or just individual artworks that speak to you. Share your creations with the hashtags #freethemallcoloringbook #freethemall #liberenatodos #liberenatodx.
In Iowa, Latinos account for more than 20 percent of coronavirus cases though they are only 6 percent of the population. Latinos in Washington State make up 13 percent of the population but 31 percent of cases. In Florida, they are just over a quarter of the population but account for two of every five virus cases where ethnicity is known.
Public health experts say Latinos may be more vulnerable to the virus as a result of the same factors that have put minorities at risk across the country. Many have low-paying service jobs that require them to work through the pandemic, interacting with the public. A large number also lack access to health care, which contributes to higher rates of diabetes and other conditions that can worsen infections.
More than 3 million migrant and seasonal farmworkers are estimated to harvest food in the United States. Farmworkers help provide the majority of the food people in America consume, harvesting produce, maintaining dairies, and working in the meat industry. Farmworkers make a substantially lower wage than non-farmworkers and work in some of the most horrific conditions across all industries. Farmworkers face harassment, abuse, chemical exposure, unjust working conditions, and wage theft at unprecedented levels.
While advocates and organizers work to ensure that farmworkers that have been negatively impacted by their occupation are heard, they are also fighting legislation that is being put forth to further limit their rights and safety.
In late May 2019, 20 farmworkers harvesting hops near Parma, Idaho, were suspected to have been sprayed by pesticide from a crop duster.
Farmworkers recounted smelling the harsh chemicals that were dropped on top of them. The physical and mental ailments soon followed, sending many in the group to the nearest hospital in Treasure Valley for suspected pesticide exposure. Farmworkers detailed symptoms of excruciating headaches, coughing up blood, dizziness, and blurred vision.
Dear supporters, C2C has been sounding the alarm about substandard and often nonexistent health and safety protections for farmworkers, most notably with regard to the dangers of pesticide exposure, for 15 years. For the last month, we have been begging the state to implement emergency rules to protect farmworkers so that this historical negligence would not result in preventable farmworker deaths. On March 19, we co-authored a letter to Governor Inslee demanding that he enact emergency orders to ensure that farmworkers have access to medical treatment, adequate quarantine facilities, and implementation of social distancing and sanitization protocols. C2C leadership participated in calls with state agencies, the Governor's staff, and the Agricultural and Seasonal Workforce Services Advisory Committee attempting to convey the urgency of enforceable rules in agriculture, as thousands of farmworkers were already at work and thousands more were scheduled to arrive in Washington State for the harvest season. Washington State Representatives and Senators co-authored this letter in support of our demands for equitable treatment for farmworkers who are at extreme risk of contracting COVID-19. Latino Civic Alliance submitted this letter to the Governor's office, echoing our call for justice in agriculture, where 99.5% of the agricultural workforce in WA is Latino. All the while, farmworkers, dairy workers, and processing and packaging workers continued on the front lines, risking their lives to feed us. Seeing no significant response from Washington State, Familias Unidas por la Justicia and UFW filed a lawsuit against these agencies on April 15, 2020. The lawsuit demanded that the emergency safety regulations be issued immediately. The lawsuit remains set for a hearing at 10:30 a.m. on May 1, 2020 -- International Workers' Day. On Thursday April 23, the Department of Health and the Department of Labor and Industries finally published proposed emergency regulations regarding farmworkers' housing (critically leaving out transportation and work sites), scheduled to take effect May 1st. While it is a relief that the State of Washington has decided to take action, on careful review of these "new" orders, our frustration grew upon seeing there is very little change from the current, inadequate regulations. It is appalling that it took the threat of a lawsuit to force Governor Inslee to force the State Agencies to issue these orders. It is even more appalling that the State's actions came too late to prevent 70 farmworkers from becoming ill in Yakima, and 42* H2A workers becoming ill at the Stemilt labor camp in Wenatchee. * Note: contrary to the Stemilt press release stating there were 37 ill workers, there are actually 42 workers who have tested positive. It adds insult to injury to issue rules that allow the use of dangerous tent housing, which will lead to more illness and put more farmworkers at risk. WE ASK THAT YOU JOIN US AND SUBMIT COMMENTS NOW VIA EMAIL to the Department of Health and Labor and Industries demanding that the content of these new emergency orders truly protects and helps save lives of farmworkers and those in rural communities where they live and work by including these FIVE KEY CHANGES Comments on the draft emergency rules will only be accepted through this Monday, April 27, 2020. Submit comments to both the Department of Health (email@example.com) and Labor and Industries (firstname.lastname@example.org) demanding these changes -- we encourage you to read our FULL comments as well as this summary; you may copy and paste from either: 1) Prohibit use of bunkbeds entirely, as well as the use of plastic sheeting as barriers; instead of barriers, current spacing ratios for housing, showering, sinks, cooking, and food storage facilities must be revised to reflect current CDC social distancing recommendations 2) Prohibit expanded use of tent housing 3) Require education about COVID-19 cleaning protocols and general health and safety precautions in line with CDC recommendations, as well as what to do if you suspect you are sick and what will happen if you test positive, in a language or languages understood by the contracted farmworkers 4) Require farms to continue providing regular pay for workers in isolation in addition to adequate food and water; and require contract tracing and consequent isolation of anyone who has come into contact with any worker (including management) who has tested positive for COVID-19 5) Department of Health must re-inspect all temporary housing and only issue licenses and/or certifications of compliance with state standards with facilities that fully comply with these regulations
SAVE THE DATE: INTERNATIONAL WORKERS' DAY, FRIDAY, MAY 1 Join C2C and FUJ in Olympia! More details to follow.
Donate to C2C We are fighting for the lives of domestic farmworkers and the approximately 9,000 H2A guestworkers from Mexico who are currently living in labor camps. In order to get accurate information out to farmworkers and immigrant families in rural communities, we are doing outreach and distributing donations and masks, plus assisting families to apply for the few benefits they are eligible for, such as the cash assistance program. The C2C promotoras doing this work come from the directly-impacted communities they are working with and need financial support to be able to continue organizing amidst the crisis, as their workload has more than doubled. To support C2C promotoras, donate here. Donate to Familias Unidas por la Justicia If you have received a stimulus check and are able to donate it to Familias Unidas por la Justicia to be redistributed to their undocumented members who did not qualify for that stimulus package, donate here.
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY AND A JUST RECOVERY We demand that the recovery phase of this crisis fundamentally changes our economy and food system to center unionized green jobs and worker-owned cooperatives, to recapture displaced workers and allow for a resilient, healthy food system free of pesticides and worker-exploitation. This requires amnesty and citizenship for farmworkers and all undocumented workers who cannot cease to be seen as "essential" once this crisis passes. This requires re-opening the U.S. Mexico border and demilitarizing border communities on the northern and southern borders. We reject false solutions that further sacrifice the environment and people for toxic fossil-fuel based industries. Agriculture is no exception. In solidarity, Rosalinda, Lucy, Australia, Arely, Brenda, Liz, and Maureen
Crews huddle in the morning to hear instructions, then prune trees, tie up branches and replant orchards, often in close proximity to one another. Those who want to wash their hands — vital workplace safety in the age of the novel coronavirus — need to bring soap from home, and until recently their own water, according to an April 1 complaint the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is looking into. And judging by a video shared with The Seattle Times, at least one portable bathroom on this site is dirty, the faucet dry, the soap and towel dispensers empty. Read more here.
"Familias Unidas por la Justicia, Community to Community Development, CATA, Farmworker Association of Florida and UFCW, who unite in the Food Chain Workers Alliance — vigorously oppose H.R. 5038." "A close reading of H.R. 5038 leads me to the same conclusion. If we want to end this country's dependence on desperate people who are willing to do hard physical labor at machine speeds for poverty wages, we need to transform farm work into a respected vocation with living wages, the right to organize, full benefits, health coverage and a pension plan. When we replace giant farms with integrated, biodiverse family-scale organic and agroecological farms, no one will need to work like a machine." "Take action: Urge your senators to oppose H.R. 5038 — The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019". Read more here.
Last year, the Trump administration rolled out several policies that restricted access to asylum as well as employment-based and family-based immigration pathways. With a presidential election on the horizon, 2020 could bring even more restrictions as US President Donald Trump makes a final push to fulfill his agenda before voters head to the ballot box.
Here are 10 immigration issues we’re watching this year . . .
Support for Resetting the Table, a Crosscut Focus series examining food insecurity in Washington, is provided by Northwest Harvest. Washington is an agricultural powerhouse, producing some of the highest yields of fruit, vegetables and grains in the country — yet despite this bounty, plenty of people can’t access it. Entire communities can’t get to the food they need, and while many are in urban centers, rural and suburban communities deal with the issue in entirely unique ways. While visiting diverse communities throughout western Washington — immigrants, farmworkers, grocery shoppers in rural and urban areas alike — we found examples of what fixing Washington’s food system might look like from the ground up. Read the whole series here.
Rosalinda Guillen is the executive director of Community to Community Development (C2C). Listen to the story of who she is and how her speech speaks to a profound understanding of intersectionality . . . racism, immigration, earth culture, environmental justice and climate change among many others not just from the head, but from the heart. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKZ8SiSToWg&list=PLATdTmWw92SClYQ7NKaRjlk0ejef7KL9g
Interfaith Worker Justice asks you to:It’s time to cool things down for workers. Eighteen of the last nineteen hottest years on record have occurred since 2001 and this year is on track to continue that trend. The effects of this heat are being felt by everyone, but it is workers on the front lines, working in the fields, on construction sites, or cleaning up after more frequent and powerful storms who are the most impacted. As you read headlines about record breaking temperatures, it might surprise you to know that there is no national standard for conditions when working in the heat. It’s time to change that!
The Asunscion Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act (H.R. 3668) is an increasingly important and common sense legislation that directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a workplace heat standard for both indoor and outdoor work.This legislation would ensure that workers would have access to water, rest breaks in shaded or climate-controlled spaces, a plan to help workers adjust to the heat, training, anti-retaliation rights, and other measures. *This is a joint petition with Interfaith Power and Light, an organization that mobilizes people of conscience and faith to take bold steps in combating climate change.