Woodburn – PCUN, Oregon’s Farmworker Union represents farmworkers, and low-wage Latinx working families in Oregon. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, PCUN, Oregon Law Center, and allies have requested temporary rules during the pandemic to ensure protocols, and increased worker protection measures to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in the agricultural workforce. According to an Oregon State University Enumeration Study, there are 178,758 agricultural workers, and family members (which includes workers in agriculture, processing, and forestry work). An outbreak amongst these workers would have devastating effects on Oregon’s food supply chain, and communities.
On April 28th, 2020 – Oregon OSHA announced Temporary rules addressing the COVID-19 emergency in employer-provided housing and in labor-intensive agricultural operations
Effective Date Unless otherwise noted, the provisions of this rule take effect May 11, 2020 and will remain effect until repealed, but not later than October 28, 2020. The Temporary Rules require employers to implement field sanitation protocols such as social distancing measures, more hand-washing stations, and toilet availability; requires additional protocols and sanitation for employer provided transportation, including distancing measures in vans, and buses; additional disinfection measures after use. And requirements for employer provided housing; including the prohibition of the use of bunkbeds, additional toilets, and handwashing-stations, employer provided cleaning materials, and mandatory distancing measures in sleeping quarters.
“This is the first step towards keeping farmworkers safe, while continuing to go to work. Oregon OSHA is doing right by workers, by ensuring there are clear standards and rules in place protecting them from a potential health disaster at their work-site. Doing nothing puts them and our essential food supply chain at risk.” Said Reyna Lopez, Executive Director of PCUN, “Clear communications, and rules for farmworkers to function in a time of a pandemic are necessary to keeping people safe. We look forward to supporting and collaborating in efforts between employers, workers, and communities to ensure resources are in place for additional equipment, sanitation, handwashing stations, toilets, and housing alternatives. This must also be part of implementing a comprehensive plan for our agricultural sector.”
PCUN, has organized for the rights of farmworkers since the mid-1980’s. Its fundamental goal is ending the exploitation of farmworkers.
The Chronicles: firstname.lastname@example.org [Note: many are posted at in the Larry Kleinman’s Writing page on “news” at www.pcun.org]
You can also check out Larry’s Webinar on Organizing In a Time of A Pandemic.. right here.
You Can Hear Us Now!: The Story of PCUN’s Radio Movimiento, “La Voz del Pueblo”. Narrates PCUN’s path to establishing and operating a non-commercial low-power FM radio station. Subtitled “Taking mass communications with PCUN’s community base from someday to every day,” this work lays out a quarter century of dreaming, scheming, teaming up for, and beaming radio broadcasting. The final chapter sets forth three big ideas that have shaped our movement and how the radio station manifests those ideas. (January 2008; 134 pages in PDF, 89 p. in Word).
Resisting La Migra. This narrative, presently about 60% complete, interweaves the stories, historical background and commentary about our movement’s early years (1976 thru 1988) defined and consumed by our legal and community-organizing resistance to INS raids and the struggle for immigration reform. (March 2008; 75 pages completed in Word)
Our Movement’s First Home. Tells the story of the small, dilapidated wooden structure that served as our headquarters from 1980 to 1988 and then as a residence for volunteers. The story was written about six weeks before the building’s de-construction was launched in June 2008, the first step in preparing the site for the CAPACES Leadership Institute building. (May 2008;
10 p. in Word)
March 17, 2005. Describes four events that occurred in Woodburn on that date, each—and together—serving as indicators of the progress our movement had made—or failed to make—in changing the politics of Woodburn over a quarter century. (December 2005; 19 p. in Word)
The Building Power on the Path to Post-Pandemic Recovery and Beyond. As the third in the series about organizing in a time of pandemic (see below), this essay looks at the likely trajectory for economic and health recovery and describes two key strategies—“Lived Relief” and “Vote at
Home”—that social change organizations should consider pursuing to meet the moment.” (April 9, 2020, 7 pages in Word)
Moving Through Contagion Fear, Preparing for Recovery. Building on the Organizing in an Era of Approaching Pandemic (described below), this essay offers ideas on how we should think about the likely length and depth of the Coronavirus pandemic and navigate the health and unprecedented economic crises it’s spawned. (March 16, 2020, 6 pages in Word)
Organizing in an Era of Approaching Pandemic: Campaigns and Contingency Plans Amid the Effects and Fears of Coronavirus. The threat of a coronavirus pandemic is scrambling our already turbulent reality. The impacts on public health, on the economy and, in turn, on our campaigns and activities could be profound and swift. This essay lays out ideas for how to shift gears quickly and respond appropriately, including contingency planning. (March 7, 2020, 3 pages in Word, also available in Spanish)
One to One to One for 1/21/21. January 21, 2021 will be the first day of the next administration. How do we hope and need to show up on that day ready to begin years of “restoring, repairing and re-building”? This essay overviews the harrowing path we’ll likely travel in 2019 and 2020,especially Trump’s post-election final weeks in office. (Circulated in draft November 2018;
finalized January 2019, 4 p. in Word)
Resistance & Resilience 3D. Summarizes the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant policies under 3 “Ds” (self-Deportation, self-Detention, and self-Demobilization) and asserts that if we are to sustain ourselves and our communities, we must find ways to move past our (many) defeats and value/understand our victories. (Circulated in draft April 2018; finalized August, 2018, 6 p. in Word, also available in Spanish)
The D.C. 211. A reflection on the October 8, 2013 civil disobedience action near the U.S. Capitol building, resulting in the arrests of 211 immigration reform supporters, including eight members of Congress. (October 2013, 2 p. in Word)
The ‘7 C’s’ Test for Legalization Wave Seathworthiness. A navigation tool and concise inventory of the preparatory steps (organized under the 7-C categories: “call, compress, convene, cast, cost, collect, credential”) to respond to the anticipated outpouring of immigrants anxious for information and assistance, when immigration reform legislation becomes law. (April 2013; 4 p. in Word)
The Legalization Wave and the Progressive Tide. A succinct call to action on legalization preparedness work, issued for a meeting in Washington D.C. on March 15, 2013 of 43 national and local/statewide organizations seeking to jump-start that process. (February 2013; 1 p. in Word)
Willlamette Valley Law Project: Born on César’s 50th. A reflection on the 35th anniversary in 2012 of WVLP, one of our movement’s very first non-profit (but still least visible) entities. WVLP was incorporated on March 31, 1977, coincidentally César Chávez’s 50th birthday. (March 31, 2012; 4 p., Word)
Alabama and the Nation’s Conscience. An Op-ed on the 2012 re-enactment of the five-day Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 and how the 2012 march broke new ground in unifying the modern-day civil rights and immigrants’ rights struggles to repeal Alabama’s worst-in-the-nation anti-immigrant law, HB 56. (March 2012; 1 page in Word)
A Call From Tom Ruhl. How a pivotal educational leader set in motion a scholarship which opens a path to higher education for leaders of our movement who are undocumented
immigrants. (December 2011; 9 p., Word)
Oregon’s farmworker movement is raising $100,000 for former and current undocumented farmworkers affected by COVID-19. Our goal is to serve 100 undocumented farmworker families with one-time economic relief from our organizations. With these funds, we can support essential workers during this pandemic, while continuing to advocate for the rights of immigrant workers. Learn more about essential farmworkers in the NY Times article we were quoted in!
- There are 74,000 undocumented farmworkers, child care workers, food service and accommodation workers, cleaning and maintenance workers, retail and trade workers, painters, dry-wallers, personal caregivers, carpenters, etc.
- The vast majority of these workers are deemed “essential”, yet are not entitled to unemployment insurance, or emergency aid.
Support undocumented workers in lieu of the federal stimulus dollars sacrificing mixed immigration status families by donating to our Farmworker Emergency Fund for COVID-19 today. Thank you for your continued support!
¡Con la unión, se puede!
[This donation is not tax-deductible due to disaster relief regulations]
Woodburn, Oregon – PCUN, Oregon’s farmworkers union has been activating Latinx immigrant workers to take action against exploitative working conditions since 1985. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused much strife in the lives of Oregonians, and its important to take a deeper look at how workers who are most vulnerable to disruptions due to their seasonal nature, contractors, and temporary labor – especially those who are keeping Oregon’s $50 billion dollar industry working. (includes total sales, and food processing)
Major concerns on the part of farm labor, and workers at canneries, and processing plants are real – and due to the lack of worker protections, and benefits, in addition to the amount of people power that comes from the immigrant community in this sector – there are many worries on the minds of these workers, on top of the pandemic.
Immediate actions that can be taken today by government entities, and the industry today to keep our workers, communities, and food supply chain safe includes:
- Additional training and protocols by employers, and supervisors giving direct instructions to workers onsite that prioritize sanitation, increase disinfection requirements, social distancing, and honoring a workers need to quarantine without fear of retaliation.
- Sick days and leave expansion for farmworkers, and food processing workers
- Cash assistance for individuals who do not qualify for paid sick leave, and needing to self quarantine for 14 days. We believe this can be done through Unemployment Insurance, and Worker Compensation expanding it to include all employers no matter the size of the employer, as well as waiving wait time. This also includes for Black, Indigenous and People of Color-based small businesses and their respective employees
- Job protection, anti- retaliation protections, and cash assistance for workers over 60 y/o (increasingly aging workforce), additional precautions for workers who are high risk; additional protections for H2A workers (seeing more of these in the fields)
- Taking into consideration the logistical challenges of quarantining workers that live in housing on worksites, and housing with multiple families. Creating avenues and funds for special accommodations for quarantine workers to prioritize health and containment.
- Ensure nutrition programs are still available for children and students despite school closures, and program cancellations. And childcare assistance for parents.
- Timely, trusted, and non-sensationalized multilingual information that is easily shared on communications outlets most utilized by immigrant, and non-English speaking community members: Radio, Univision, Facebook posts in multiple languages
- Ensuring all workers, small BIPOC business owners, and community members (no matter their documentation status) can access services, especially health services.
- Resource migrant clinics in urban and rural Oregon adequately respond to the influx of patients due to COVID-19 and ensure that testing and healthcare is accessible to all workers – no matter their immigration status.
- Resources for farmworker housing and employers to bring in professionals to do “deep-cleaning” of facilities.
- Employers cutting hours or doing layoffs – ensure all workers despite immigration status qualify for Unemployment Insurance, and Stimulus Packages. Removing any barriers for undocumented workers accessing unemployment, and other cash assistance.
Additional pieces that affect all working Latinx families:
- Rent forgiveness, utility freezes and moratorium of evictions.
- Supporting homeless workers by getting a contingency plan that can house workers who rely on shelters.
- Funding for organizations serving the most vulnerable The state government set-up an emergency fund for non-profit organizations of the state serving immigrants, refugees, day laborers, farmworkers, and people of color to support their capacity in mitigating the community impacts of COVID-19 and providing culturally-relevant education and resources.
- Farmworkers and other sectors of work are of mixed immigration status, all detentions, and ICE holds should end to reduce confinement of workers in close quarters, and to decrease the criminalization of immigrants and people of color.
- Create a grant program providing funds for small businesses owned by black, indigenous, people of color with fewer than 50 employees who see loss of profits due to COVID-19. Provide commercial rent relief and utility freezes during the duration of the administrative closure.
- Ensuring people have access to basic necessities like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and transportation
Employers and the state must take the threats seriously and keep workers informed about essential next steps to keeping our workers, communities, and the food supply chain safe.