Why “essential workers” have been made invisible in America | Ft. Dolores Huerta

October 12, 2020

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The word ¨legendary¨ can be overused, but Dolores Huerta´s role in the story of labor, racial, and women´s equality truly merits the term. Fighting at the side of the equally iconic Cesar Chavez, Huerta was instrumental in winning worker protections that transformed life in America for migrant workers. Over half a century later, she continues her work in defending the rights of the people that power our modern society. Today´s compelling conversation with Areva offers her pertinent perspective of the COVID-19 crisis at the ground level.

3:13 Essentially Invisible
As the numbers clearly show, the fallout from COVID disproportionately affects people of color. Huerta points to an even more stark contrast when considering the millions of migrant workers that form the backbone of the American workforce. While some workers were able to receive benefits such as hazard pay, the undocumented are typically left out of these initiatives. Worse, when these undocumented workers are mistreated, they have no recourse thanks to a byzantine system of contractors and clients that make accountability impossible.

5:42 Corporate Commitment

In the profit-driven industries of today, there is precious little room for inefficiencies of any kind. This means that workers who miss work for any reason risk losing their income…COVID-19 is no exception. Workers forced to choose between feeding their families and public safety face an impossible choice. For these reasons, the onus falls directly on the employer to ensure employees are kept safe. In Huerta´s view, this includes providing all appropriate PPE as well as redesigning workspaces to mute transmission.

8:33 Don´t Wait for November

The civil rights leader also stresses that there are immediate and tangible actions that citizens can take to assist in the struggle for worker rights. Political will is the driving force behind social change, and so constant pressure on representatives ensures the will of the people is upheld. With the historically anti-union Republican Party working to remove key worker protections in recent legislation, Huerta believes it is imperative that citizens act now.

Connect with Dolores Huerta:
Website: https://doloreshuerta.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/doloreshuertafoundation Twitter: https://twitter.com/DoloresHuertaFD
Email: https://doloreshuerta.org/contact/

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