Wasco, Calif.—On the first day employees say Primex Farms LLC is returning to full operations, many of its almond and pistachio packinghouse workers will protest outside the entrance from 4 to 6 p.m. today (Monday) over what they say is their company’s continuing failure to adequately protect them from COVID-19.
Demonstrating workers who have tested negative will carry red UFW flags and signs at Primex’s main entrance while some who have tested positive or are in quarantine will drive by the site in a car caravan to protect their colleagues. Ongoing grievances cited by the workers include:
• Failure to adequately disinfect facilities for coronavirus using a specialized outside firm.
• Failure to pay all employees for the time they are unable to work under the federal CARES Act as well as Gov. Newsom’s executive order compelling two weeks of paid sick leave. Primex has also reneged on the promise in its press statements to pay all workers for all the time they lose beyond federal and state requirements whether they have symptoms or test positive.
• The company is still scheduling workers to come to work, including those who have been tested at the plant but have not been provided with their written results.
The United Farm Workers’ census of Primex employees shows 80 infected workers plus 36 family members, including 10 children as young as nine months, for a total of 116 people.
Who: Many Primex Farms workers, UFW Secretary-Treasurer Armando Elenes.
What: Protest over Primex’s failure to sufficiently protect workers from COVID-19, according to the workers.
When: 4-6 p.m., Monday, July 6, 2020.
Where: Primex Farms LLC, 16070 Wildwood Rd., Wasco, Calif. 93280.