Michigan Farm Workers Are Demanding Coronavirus Safety Measures
Farm workers all across the state are calling on farms to increase coronavirus testing as well as asking for better coronavirus safety measures.
The call for increased coronavirus safety and testing comes after state officials announced that at least 21 locations have had outbreaks of the virus. The majority of farm workers in the state are immigrants and advocates fear that they are being exploited during the pandemic.
Immigrant advocates are arguing that many of the migrant workers are coming from coronavirus hot spots like Texas and Florida. They are saying there needs to be adequate testing of new farm workers and that their health should be of highest priority.
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, one immigrant worker said the workers were getting sick because farms weren't providing adequate PPE materials on the job site.
There are already guidelines in place by the State of Michigan for COVID-19 testing on farms, but many Michigan farmers are putting up a legal battle against these guidelines in an attempt to deny or limit COVID-19 testing.
The Michigan farmers are arguing for a reduction in testing because workers who test positive will have to quarantine and this will affect their livelihood. The Michigan Farm Bureau also stated that they have seen immigrants refuse to get tested and walk off the job.
The coronavirus pandemic has already disrupted crop harvesting in Michigan and will more than likely continue to do so until some agreement is reached between farmers and farm workers that will have their livelihoods, health, and safety in mind.