TAKE ACTION: After nearly TWO YEARS, still no update in Gerawan workers’ pesticide-spraying case
It was nearly two years ago when farm workers pruning peach orchards at Gerawan Farming were sickened by pesticide drift from a neighboring farm while taking a break. Workers have appealed to the Fresno County Ag Commissioner and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Now they’re taking their appeals to the Ag Commissioner's boss, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.
They want firm steps taken so this will never happen again as this isn’t the first time workers at this company were exposed to pesticides.
Worker Miguel Miranda describes the scene in February 2016, ‘We entered work at 7am and I saw that on the west side of the field, there were some machines fumigating the almonds. In block 118D, five crews were working in the same area. We got out for lunch at 10am and they were still fumigating. One of the machines came out in front of two crews. Our crew was about 15 rows from where the machine came out of. The foreman didn’t make any attempt to move us from the area. After a while I felt my eyes burning. I know that many felt ill, but didn’t report anything due to fear of retaliation from the company.”
After their break was up, the workers were asked to return to their rows with no medical attention even though they complained of nausea, dizziness, and eye irritation. Workers weren’t even able to change out of their pesticide-drenched clothes!
In the prior incident, it took the Ag Commissioner 15 months to find Gerawan guilty of violating the law — and the $5,000 penalty amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist.
The workers want more this time. But, it’s been nearly two years and this still hasn’t been resolved, nor has the company been fined or forced to implement any preventative measures. Will you sign the petition workers are personally handing in to the Board of Supervisors?