COVID-19 Affects Farmworkers’ Livelihood in the San Joaquin Valley

Mar 17, 2020

Farmworkers in the Central Valley.
Credit Ezra David Romero / KVPR

The spread of COVID-19 is forcing many people to work from home, but for farmworkers that’s not an option.  

Take Eucebia and Alejandro; the couple asked to go by their first names only. They have three kids and no savings. In the past two weeks, they’ve been asked to leave two picking jobs, first in almonds, then in grapes. The second job at Fowler Packing only lasted two days before the contractor told them to leave.

“She said that there wasn't going to be any work, that everything had been canceled,” Eucebia said. 

Eucebia said the contractor told her production had slowed because the company isn’t shipping as much produce due to the coronavirus. It’s been a week since Eucebia and her husband have been able to find work.

 

“We don’t have any other option except to work. But right now that we aren’t working, we are worried because we don't know where we are going to get the money,” Eucebia said.  

They'll keep looking for work, Eucebia said, but so far they haven’t found it. Fowler Packing did not immediately respond to phone calls.