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Call to Action: Protect Maryland Farmworkers from COVID-19

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This week, Migrant Clinicians Network joined 108 organizations in asking Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to enact emergency orders to protect farmworkers and poultry and seafood workers from COVID-19. Presently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines are voluntary recommendations – not mandatory regulations – that have left workers, critical to our food supply, without basic protection measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These workers, argue the coalition of organizations, have been deemed “essential workers” but have been left without basic protective measures leading to high rates of infection. Once infected, they lack basic employment conditions to support them to get well and stop the spread – like access to sick leave, health insurance, and unemployment insurance.

In this remarkable video, Maryland health and safety experts, including MCN’s Amy K. Liebman, Director of Environmental and Occupational Health, illustrate the risks that these workers, most of whom are immigrant or migrant, are taking during this pandemic to harvest and prepare the nation’s food, while COVID-19 rampages in the Eastern Shore’s poultry plants and food processing facilities.

As the summer season peaks, thousands of workers have arrived in Maryland to work to provide food for our families. Farmworkers need our support. Please join us in supporting Maryland farmworkers and other essential workers who put food on our tables. Here are some action steps to take today: 

1) Sign on to this letter. Call for Governor Hogan to enact emergency protective measures.

2) Share the video to raise awareness of the issue on social media.

3) Learn more: Read about the working and living conditions, and the specific requests of Governor Hogan, here. Read about the 14 other states that have enacted emergency protections here.  Last week Virginia became the first state to issue an emergency temporary standard.  




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