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Five on Friday: More Protection Needed for Essential Workers

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Farmworkers wear bandanas while working

Summer is just around the corner, and some of the warmer pockets of our country are already producing summer crops, like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. As COVID-19 disrupts food distribution and slows farm work, we are grateful to the thousands of workers who are still toiling in the fields to bring us those long-craved jewels of summer. This week, as expected, COVID-19 was center stage, and farmworkers and other migrant and immigrant populations were front page news. Here are some of the articles and resources MCN staff shared this week.


Cover of storybook titled "The Germ That Wears A Crown"

Martha shared Florida State University Center for Child Stress & Health’s new storybook for children, The Germ that Wears a Crown.

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A clinician administering a drive-through test for COVID-19

Kaethe shared the LA Times piece, “Coronavirus Infections Could Be Much More Widespread Than Believed, California Study Suggests.”

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Farmworkers wear bandanas while working

Karen kept us up to date on the numerous articles on farmworker health, their essential status, and their lack of protection from COVID-19, including from Mother Jones, Jacobin Magazine, and the Fresno Bee. (Yes, that’s three offerings, but along the same lines, so we’re bundling them as one!)

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A Smithfield Foods Plant with Caution tape outside

Amy also shared, “Migrant child died after release from detention, attorneys group alleges.”

Jillian shared two upsetting but informational articles on the Smithfield meatpacking plant: “Smithfield Foods Is Blaming ‘Living Circumstances In Certain Cultures’ For One Of America’s Largest COVID-19 Clusters,” and “Coronavirus at Meatpacking Plants Worse than First Thought.”

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better wages and worker protections for 250,000 meatpacking workers

Weekly Win: Here’s some great news that Alma shared, to balance out the bad news from Smithfield: the UFCW union and JBS agreed to better wages and worker protections for 250,000 meatpacking workers. It’s great to read about the solutions that people are proposing and enacting during this pandemic. Solutions journalism doesn’t shy away from the most entrenched and terrifying problems out there, but it does focus on the ways to solve them. Now, you can get solution-oriented news summaries from your Google Assistant-enabled phone or smart speaker.


A reminder: we share plenty more excellent reports and resources on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, so be sure to follow us there for updates throughout the week. 


Have a safe and healthy weekend.

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