20,000 signatures reached
To: Primex Farms LCC
Primex workers fired for exposing company’s deadly COVID-19 practices
I'm appalled by the way you're treating your workforce just to make a buck. When workers started testing positive for COVID-19 you kept it a secret. When workers asked for measures to prevent the spread of the virus, you failed to take leadership. Now, more than a third of your workforce has tested positive for COVID-19. One worker has died. What happened to the brave workers who spoke up to protect themselves and their co-workers? You fired them. We call on you to immediately rehire these workers with back pay for the time that they were either fired or home sick and the institute the protections they've been demanding.
Why is this important?
We've told you about the dire situation happening at Primex Farms, a nut company in Wasco CA. The situation is escalating. According to a July 26 CNBC article, 150 of the 400 workers have now tested positive. In addition, a UFW census shows 49 of their adult family members and 34 children have tested positive for COVID-19. Sadly, one Primex worker has since died. A second worker, who tested positive, was removed from life support and sent home for palliative care; she is not expected to survive.
Protesting Primex's flawed response to the virus, employees walked out on strike and formed a picket line. Workers were requesting safety measures, including social distancing procedures, company provision of personal protective equipment such as face masks and payment of sick leave for infected or exposed employees. The company promised improvements, but when they did not happen, workers -- including those in quarantine with the virus -- defied the company and held a virtual press conference.
Now the major pistachio and almond processing company is retaliating against key groups of outspoken workers. This company uses several staffing agencies to supplement their direct hire workforce. Many of the workers who spoke out worked through USA Staffing. On July 22, Primex told the dozens of workers employed by USA Staffing that they were terminated because “production had dropped” -- but then they brought in new workers the same day!
Brisdey Nieto is one of these fired workers. She tells us, “The company's anti-union consultant told us that due to the union taking the actions it had taken the clients had heard and therefore production had dropped. They were firing us. I could not believe that. I saw that same day they hired new workers and that they had started working. If production had dropped; why hire new workers?”
The UFW immediately filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board for the company illegally retaliating against the workers for union activities and joining together to improve conditions.
Workers don't want to wait; they want their jobs back now and they want to be protected on the jobsite. They're asking you to sign their petition telling the company to rehire them, with appropriate coronavirus protections in place. Workers are hoping to turn in thousands of signatures in the next few weeks. Will you add your signature today?