The news is full of stories about the freeze and how California's multimillion dollar citrus crop is being hit hard. The harsh January freeze that ravaged California citrus also damaged strawberries, avocados and possibly other crops. It could also ravage the lives of an estimated 20,000 farm workers and their families in citrus alone. While growers are assessing the situation, the United Farm Workers is already hearing from citrus workers who are out of work. Workers have told us they think it will be almost a total loss.
News reports talk about the negative effects of this disaster on growers. However, growers can apply for relief under emergency declarations and many have insurance to cover some of their losses. There is little or no aid for the farm workers who pick the crops.
Please help the UFW fight for these farm workers. Contact California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein. Thank the governor for calling a state of emergency and ask Sen. Feinstein to work to get the federal government to declare a national emergency, as she did after the 1998-1999 freeze. Ask them to make sure emergency assistance provides unemployment insurance; rent or mortgage assistance; utilities assistance; and organized food distribution to farm workers and their stricken families. When the assistance comes in, the UFW will be there to get it to all those who need it--just as we did back after the last freeze.
Visit the UFW's "Freeze page" to see the latest news clips and press releases at www.ufw.org/freeze