Modeled on California’s standards that have saved countless lives
Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Sen. Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Alma Adams (D-NC) have introduced the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act of 2021, a measure to protect all U.S. farm and other indoor and outdoor workers from death and illness caused by extreme heat.
The legislation, named after a California farm worker who perished from the heat in 2004, would enact for the nation safeguards the United Farm Workers first won in California in 2005 and that have saved countless lives. The UFW, working with Judy Chu when she was a California state lawmaker, convinced then-Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to issue the nation’s first comprehensive heat standards protecting California farm and other outdoor workers. The union worked in 2015 with Democratic Governor Jerry Brown’s administration to strengthen the rules and their enforcement.
“Even as farm workers endured the COVID-19 pandemic and choking wildfire smoke last year, they faced a third deadly peril that is always with them—the risk of dying or becoming very ill from extreme heat,” said UFW President Teresa Romero. “For years, the UFW fought for and won heat protections for farm workers and other outdoor workers in California. Now those protections must be extended to farm and other workers across the nation.”
“Farm workers are on the frontlines of the impacts of climate change and deserve the basic right of access to water, shade, rest and training,” said UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres. “We applaud Representatives Chu and Grijalva and Senators Brown, Padilla and Masto and the bill’s cosponsors for recognizing that farm workers should not have to put their lives at risk to safeguard the nation’s food security.”