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An Account of Agriculture: Episode 4

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The final episode features an interview with a local farm worker, Francisco Naranjo. It’s in Spanish and the highlights are translated below.

Californian: How long have you worked as a farm worker?

Francisco: Not only did I work, I came from four generations. My grandparents, my parents, us and my children also worked to help the university and agriculture.

C: If your parents were also working, at what age did you start working as a farm worker?

F: My father is a Mexican farm worker and we also work from Mexico. I have worked in various professions from the age of 12 until today.

C: What are you doing in your job right now?

F: It has to do with building a house, most of the house is built, but there is still things to be built. In December, they must be dismantled and the materials cleaned.

C: Do you put them together so people can live in them while they work?

F: They are small houses like nurseries. You can tell they are a preschool. The fruits are very delicate, so a house to protect them from water.

C: Did you do this during the pandemic a year ago?

F: Yes, I was very influenced.

C: Tell us a bit about work during a pandemic.

F: I had to find a job. The supervisor gave us the option of coming without pay for three days, which would only represent 30 or 40 workers. I decided to go in, but the rest was delayed, probably because I didn’t have all the information, but I don’t know the reason.

C: Did they want you to come without getting paid?

F: If there are sick days, 3 days without pay. There was nothing at home.

C: How did you get the information about the pandemic, did you read the treaty or how did you get it?

F: Through the union. I am still working under a union contract and the supervisor also provided us with information. If he wants to follow his boss’s rules, it’s good to get informed, because the job depends on him.

C: Are you afraid of finding a job during a pandemic?

EN: Yes. Fear is part of being human and we are all included in it.

C: Please tell us more about your feelings about working during a pandemic.

F: That they left us behind is one of the emotions… it’s not the same job anymore. I have little work. After falling into the job, I had two opportunities to be observed. Some people have been infected with COVID. Two 14-day periods when I wasn’t working, 28 days when I wasn’t working. The first period they did not pay me, and the second time they paid me the published 80 hours.

C: Did you feel that your business was protecting you? Did they give you a mask or something?

F: Yes, but it turns out they don’t put too much emphasis on the materials. The supervisor only distributed masks when there was a rally. The mask was not very comfortable and I was told, “I don’t know how. [the masks] felt. There is no obligation to use it. “… The masks I have now are comfortable, and the masks they gave me were uncomfortable and I felt drowned.

C: You said that masks are not mandatory …

F: That’s what they said, “use them if you want”. But I had to take a break if I didn’t use it… A lot of people used handkerchiefs.

C: So everyone had handkerchiefs or masks?

F: Yes, there are a lot.

C: Have you seen anyone without them?

F: I needed it, so I had to wear it.

C: Did you work during the fire?

F: Yes, I worked for several days.

C: Do you think your business protects you when you go to work in the middle of a fire, or do you have your best intentions in mind?

F: It’s not really a business, but it’s OSHA that doesn’t pay attention to it… OSHA needs to be more vigilant.

C: So don’t you think OSHA is working well?

F: I don’t know where I found it.

C: There is no one nearby. Is there something you would like people to know about working in a pandemic or fire?

F: I would like the company to be clearer on who is sick… How do I know if someone I work closely with is infected with COVID-19?

C: Are you preparing for this year’s fire on this theme?

F: Well, people are working. We have to work because it is the only entry we have: Agriculture. We don’t know how to do anything else.

C: Do your colleagues want to be vaccinated?

F: They are afraid. I was afraid to have it too. In an interview, I talked about it.

C: During the pandemic, did people feel that you valued yourself, or not so much?

F: We wanted our boss to do more business. There was a business there. There was a mariachi and there was food … but they got angry and told me that it was not important, the supervisor told me that it was not important and that I should go back to work Yes, I was not paying attention… the company has nothing to do, it just cooperates.

C: That was my question, but if I wasn’t asking you what people think they need to know, I wanted to give you some time. What you want to share.

F: I want more training to pay more attention to supervisors… knowing that the government is putting in billions of dollars, they are putting that money to good use and their staff should be trained to be able to work more with us. There is also a message to President Joe Biden. We voted for him so that he can support immigration reform. And we are not the only ones to support it. Like Shay Myers in Ohio, who wants immigration reform, he’s also backed by Joe Biden’s colleagues. I hope this message gets to President Joe Biden and he doesn’t let us down so we can all win. Ranchero has his farmer and we are not afraid.

California journalist and podcaster Angelica Cabral covers topics ranging from movies shot in Monterey County to sums politicians have raised. Do you have any interesting history tips? Email him at [email protected] You can also follow her on Twitter @ avcabral97

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