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CNY Advocates Push State To Establish COVID-19 Safety Standards For Farm Workers

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Farm workers from across central New York today called on the state legislature to provide them enforceable workplace standards and protections from COVID-19.  Workers Center of Central New YorkExecutive Director Jessica Maxwell says the protocols they call for are the basics for combatting the virus.


“Testing, facemasks, personal protection equipment appropriate to the sector, social distancing standards, hand hygiene, disinfection, engineering controls,” said Maxwell.

Another concern for dairy workers is a lack of safe housing.  Livingston County dairy worker Luis Jimenez explains through a translator. 

“One of the things the milk industry is suffering from is that the workers are living in very close quarters. One worker gets sick and lives with five or six others. It is very highly likely they will all get sick,” said Jimenez.

Workers Justice Center of New York advocate Emma Kreyche says a lack of organized COVID testing also hurts New York’s farm workers. 

“Until we have some kind of testing regimen for seasonal workers that are coming on to a farm, it’s really hard to protect them or their coworkers,” said Kreyche.

These problems have arisen for many of the 6,500 immigrant farm workers in New York, many of whom lack access to healthcare.