I have been writing for months on the deaths of farmwokers in California from the heat.
Another farm worker died from the heat today. 5 in the last three months.
Come around after the fold for the sad news.
Heatstroke Claims Life of 14th Farm Worker;
Jorge Herrera Had Been Hospitalized Since July 9
Bakersfield ??? Jorge Herrera, 37, died Thursday afternoon at San Joaquin Community Hospital. He had been hospitalized since July 9 after collapsing due to heatstroke.
Herrera had been loading table grapes at Vignolo Vineyards. During the past two weeks he had shown slight signs of improvement but had suffered kidney failure and brain damage and remained in critical condition. He had a core body temperature of 108 degrees when he was taken to the hospital.
Originally from El Triunfo, Michoacan, Herrera leaves his wife and two young children who live in Delano.
His death marks the 14th death of a farm worker due to heat-related illness since Gov. Schwarzenegger took office.
“This summer will be remembered as the black summer for farm workers. Jorge’s death marks the fifth worker to die in just under three months. How many more must die or fall gravely ill before the Governor realizes not enough is being done to protect farm workers,” said Arturo S. Rodriguez, UFW President.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
As UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez said at the funeral of 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez:
How much is the life of a farm worker worth? Is it less than the life of any other human being?
Years ago Bobby Kennedy marched with the farmworkers.
Now we must help them.
This is the only answer, the only way to save lives:
We know there are 600,000 farm workers toiling on 80,000 farms, frequently moving from place to place and victimized by a corrupt farm labor contractor system that shields the wealthy from responsibility.
There has never been adequate enforcement of laws protecting farm workers, under either Democratic or Republican administrations.
This governor issued the heat regulation in 2005, after three previous governors refused to act. Yet Governor Schwarzenegger is well aware of the limits of government. One of those limits is that even legal protections issued by a well-meaning governor mean little if we cannot give farm workers a way to use our good laws to protect themselves.
Our union has always believed that given the chance, farm workers could solve their own problems by organizing themselves and winning UFW contracts.
Where farm workers are protected by union contracts, the laws are honored.
And when growers know it is easier for farm workers to organize and bring in the union, employers are much more careful about obeying the law because they don’t want to give the union an advantage.
So the answer, sisters and brothers, is self-help-making it easier for farm workers to organize so the laws on the books are the laws in the fields. Then more important human beings like Maria Isabel won’t have to die.
Go to United Farm Workers. Sign up to get emails. Donate what you can. We have to stop the continuing loss of life. It’s a moral imperative. We cannot let this continue.
Yesterday we mourned,
Today we act,
Tomorrow we will gain justice.