Thelma Gomez, a member of the Vermont migrant community and an organizer with Migrant Justice states that grueling work schedules, limited access to medical care, language barriers, and cramped housing all contribute to farmworkers’ vulnerability to Covid19. “Multiple workers share the same room and if one gets sick there’s no way for them to self-isolate or to keep others from getting sick,” she says.
In addition, undocumented workers don’t receive stimulus checks from the Federal government nor do they qualify for unemployment. If a dairy farm closes or downsizes – and many farms have been struggling during the pandemic – these workers may find themselves homeless. Yet they are essential to the production of milk on dairy farms throughout the state.
Migrant Justice continues to represent the rights of farmworkers and to fight for their dignity, and many other organizations throughout Vermont are also involved, contributing transportation, food and clothing, and language support. The struggle continues.