Protect farm workers from the growing dangers of heat, former UFW president will urge House panel on climate crisis
Washington, D.C.— Former United Farm Workers President Arturo S. Rodriguez will urge the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis to enact legislation protecting farm workers from dying or becoming ill from extreme heat. It is similar to first-in-the-nation heat rules the UFW pushed through that has saved the lives of countless California farm workers and prevented heat illness among many more.
The UFW, working with U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.)—then a California state legislator— convinced Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to issue the first comprehensive standards in the nation protecting California farm and other outdoor workers from the heat. The union worked with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration to strengthen the rules and their enforcement in 2015. The rest of the nation has yet to find a solution to excessive heat that plagues field workers and other outside laborers.
Rodriguez will testify at the hearing on behalf of farm workers who are at the frontlines of heat illness. He will be accompanied by Pablo Martinez, a former farm worker who labored in the fields of Monterey County for 16 years alongside his parents, harvesting and cultivating grapes, lettuce, strawberries, broccoli, onions, garlic and tomatoes. Having toiled in California fields both before and after the heat standards existed, Martinez has a personal understanding of the impact on farm workers of legislation aimed at preventing workplace fatalities.
Pablo Martinez and Arturo Rodríguez are available for interviews on Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 12 noon EST and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Who: Californian farm worker, former UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez and supporters.
What: U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Hearing on Creating a Climate Resilient America: Overcoming the Health Risks of the Climate Crisis.
When: Hearing starts at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.
Where: 1300 Longworth House Office Building, 15 Independence Ave SE, Washington, D.C. 20515.