Valdivas, UFW president 12:30 p.m. in Bakersfield With Giumarra worker’s death from heat exposure confirmed, not one grower answers UFW’s call for voluntary action
—Last Friday the Kern County Sheriff-Coroner confirmed Asuncion Valdivia, 53, died July 18 from exposure to the extreme heat after 10 hours picking table grapes at Giumarra Vineyards Corp. in 100-plus degree heat.
— Two weeks ago UFW President Arturo Rodriguez sent personal letters to major grape growers calling on them to voluntarily take immediate steps to protect their workers from the extreme heat, including training on emergency procedures.
Not a single grape grower has responded to the UFW’s appeal in the midst of the hot summer harvest season. “Asuncion Valdivia might have lived if paramedics had been permitted to arrive and provide timely care,” Rodriguez says. A Giumarra foreman at the vineyard south of Bakersfield cancelled the paramedics and told Valdivia’s son to take his father home to Pixley. Valdivia was later pronounced dead at Kern County Medical Center.
In light of official findings by the Coroner’s office, Asuncion Valdivia’s son and partner join the UFW’s Rodriguez for a Tuesday news conference with a new appeal for table grape growers to prevent further death and suffering by immediately taking voluntary steps outlined in his Aug. 3 letter to growers. With Rodriguez will be Valdivia’s son, Luis Angel, 21, who helplessly saw father die in the car, and Valdivia’s partner, Lucia Ramirez.
Who: UFW President Arturo Rodriguez and the family of Giumarra grape worker Asuncion Valdivia, who the Coroner’s office confirmed died July 28 after a foreman cancelled paramedics who might have saved his life.
What: Appealing again to grape growers who have not responded to an appeal from the UFW and the Valdivia family to immediately take steps to prevent further deaths during the hot summer harvest season.
When: 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2004.
Where: Studios of Radio Campesina, 6313 Schirra Ct. (off Ashe one block south of White Lane), Bakersfield.
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