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As spring-summer harvest seasons begin, memorial service for pregnant Mexican immigrant, 17, whose 2008 death helped beef up California’s strict heat rules

Stockton, Calif.—As temperatures begin soaring with the start of the spring-summer California harvest seasons, United Farm Workers and UFW Foundation members and leaders will join the family of Maria Isavel Vasquez Jimenez for a memorial service at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 16. It marks 11 years to the day the pregnant 17-year-old immigrant from Oaxaca, Mexico died after collapsing from heat stroke at the wine grape vineyard east of Stockton.

Her death was especially tragic since it was likely preventable: She was stricken after laboring more than nine hours without accessible shade or water. The farm labor contractor never called 911, there was a long delay in obtaining potentially lifesaving medical care and the contractor said to lie about events leading to her death.

The memorial service comes when farm workers will soon be at greatest risk from extreme heat. It serves to remind both workers and employers about California’s strict regulations to prevent heat deaths and illnesses the UFW convinced then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to initially issue in 2005. After Maria Isavel perished in 2008 her family, including uncle Doroteo Jimenez, tirelessly worked with the UFW to strengthen the heat rules, which happened under the Jerry Brown administration in 2015. The UFW encouraged Governor Brown to rename the state heat standards the Maria Isavel Vasquez Jimenez Heat Illness Prevention Regulation in 2018:

Maria Isavel’s family will unveil a plaque honoring her at the edge of the vineyard where she was stricken during the ceremony attended by UFW and UFW Foundation members and union Secretary-Treasurer Armando Elenes.

Who:  Family of Maria Isavel Vasquez Jimenez, including uncle Doroteo Jimenez, UFW and UFW Foundation members, union Secretary-Treasurer Armando Elenes.

What: Memorial service at the vineyard east of Stockton where 11 years to the day the pregnant 17-year-old Mexican immigrant died after collapsing from heat stroke at the wine grape vineyard east of Stockton.

When: 11 a.m., Thursday, May 16, 2019.

Where: 4732 Escalon-Bellota Rd, Escalon, CA 95320.