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Join the virtual vigil for heat victim Eladio Hernandez. Take action to prevent future deaths   :)

Fifteen farm workers have died of heat-related complications
since July 2004. We will be conducting vigils on the anniversary
of each of their deaths--where we will share the worker's
story--and invite you to join in virtually by telling
legislators and Gov. Schwarzenegger that enough is enough, farm
workers need a tool where they can protect themselves.

On May 9, 2007, 54-year old Eladio Hernandez died while working
under the scorching California sun. He was working for the farm
labor contractor YNT Harvesting at Hillside Orchards in
California's San Joaquin Valley. Eladio's story is especially
horrendous as the company waited for almost 3 hours before
calling for medical assistance. Even then, the foreman just took
Eladio and dropped him off near the sorting facility and left
him. Other workers were the ones who called 911. Co-worker
Rodrigio Gonzalez told us how Eladio told workers, "I don't want
to die."

Cal OSHA initially fined the farm labor contractor YNT
Harvesting $25,300 for being in serious violation of several
health and safety standards. However, they later reduced the
fine to $7,300--less than one third of the original fine. This
is the system that is supposed to protect farm workers.

Disturbingly, in an April 2008 article, YNT employer, farm labor
contractor Yolanda Calvillo said she operated her firm in a
manner similar to that of other FLCs.

An OSHA inspection report's findings reveal that YNT's
thoughtless and careless disregard for these regulations helped
lead to Hernandez' death. Some of the findings outlined in the
report include:

The field was located in a remote, isolated location and the
employer failed to provide the crew boss proper equipment or a
telephone communication system for contacting a doctor to avoid
unnecessary delay in treatment. As a result, medical treatment
was delayed and an employee of YNT Harvesting FLC died on

It was determined that employees were not acclimatized. The OSHA
investigation report detailed how the employer callously
disregarded this by saying, It would be impossible to check each
employee and determine if the worker needed an extra break just
because certain new hires were not used to working in the heat.
She also stated that she could not monitor each individual
employee because it would be discrimination to allow one
employee more time for a break.

Violations of the laws designed to protect farm workers occur
every day and little is done. Complaints regarding lack of
drinking water, shade and work breaks to make use of these
simple, but lifesaving, measures are an everyday occurrence for
farm workers. (To read more worker stories, click here.)

The state's failure to protect farm workers from heat illness is
just one of the reasons farm workers need a system to protect
themselves. It's why SB789 is so vital. SB789, CA Employee Free
Choice Act for Farm Workers (Steinberg), will make it easier for
farm workers to organize and help enforce the laws that
California's government cannot enforce. SB789 passed the
California state senate on April 23. It will next be heard in
the state assembly and then go to Governor Arnold

Please take action today and tell them to pass SB789, a bill
that will give farm workers the power to protect themselves. Go to:

Tell-A-Friend: Every e-mail sent makes a difference. Forward
this message to at least 10 friends or family and ask them to
send an e-mail too. Go to:

To read Eladio's story go to:

Your spare change can make change: Go to:

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for the United Farm Workers at:

United Farm Workers, 29700 Woodford-Tehachapi Rd., P.O. Box 62,
Keene, CA, 93531

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