TAKE ACTION: Nearly 100 Primex Farms workers have gotten COVID and workers say the company is still failing to protect themE-mail CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Ask him to investigate and make Primex obey the law.
Primex Farms workers in Wasco, CA are sharing grievances over what they're saying is the company's failure to properly protect them from COVID-19. According to a UFW census of employees, the number of workers positive for the coronavirus is now at 97. An additional 63 family members are also positive for the coronavirus including a 9-month-old baby. And more are testing positive on a regular basis. Primex provides mostly year-round employment for 400 packing shed workers.
Remigio Ramirez has been working at Primex as a maintenance worker for 13 years. He repeatedly tried to tell his supervisors that he was sick. “I started feeling sick like three days before (the diagnosis) and I asked my supervisor to let me go home and he said there was a lot of work and not enough employees... Now, most of us are infected, my wife, my daughter... What are we going to do?"
Workers have told us they learned about colleagues testing positive from other workers and media reports, not from the company. Some of the workers who requested to stay home to protect their health were advised they could resign instead. We've even heard reports that some workers who tested positive were told to keep it quiet.
Out of frustration with the company giving them the runaround, worker leaders staged a strike on June 25th. At that time the company said they would shut down to do a deep cleaning against the coronavirus. However, workers say all the company did was a regularly scheduled in-house fumigation against pests with in-house workers who themselves could have been exposed to COVID-19. The company disputes this, but workers insist that no deep cleaning has occurred. Additionally, the company is still scheduling some workers to come to work who have been tested at the plant but have not yet been provided with their written results.
In a press statement, the company promised to pay all workers for all the time they lost whether they have symptoms or test positive. According to workers, the company has since failed to do so. Not only that, workers report that Primex is failing to pay all employees for the time they are unable to work under the federal CARES Act as well as CA Gov. Newsom's executive order mandating two weeks of paid sick leave.
Please help Primex workers. Send a message to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today. Tell him to investigate and make Primex obey the law. Workers are demanding Primex institute social distancing, pay wages during shutdowns and for workers who've tested positive or have been told to self-quarantine, do a thorough third-party COVID-19 specific cleaning, continue to sanitize facilities daily and test all current and new employees for COVID-19. Take action today!