Workers on a strawberry farm in Southern California were fired last week when they became worried about smoke from a nearby wildfire and left mid-shift. After a media backlash, the farm offered the workers their jobs back, but the workers said, essentially, “Screw you.”
The ashes were falling on top of us, one of them explained, adding “it was hard to breathe.”
Air quality in the region was at dangerously poor levels and 15 workers at Crisalida Farms decided they could not handle it any longer. They left, even though their foreman warned them they would not have a job when they returned.
The workers were non-union, but United Farm Workers went in to help anyway, meeting with Crisalida Farms officials and demanding that they hire the workers back. Meanwhile, Telemundo and other news outlets began reporting on the injustice, placing the company in an awkward spotlight.
Crisalida Farms eventually relented, but only one of the 15 workers decided to return to their former job. All the others found more fruitful work elsewhere.