On Monday, May 18th temporary rules for worker safety housing were released. In a second interview with Dillon Honcoop on the Farming Show, Pam Lewison follows up on this ongoing issue. As the harvest seasons draw closer, Lewison and Honcoop both express some relief that these guidelines have been put in place.
As Honcoop points out, farms are already doing a lot to protect their workers. He says, the activist claims would have harmed the workers because it would have resulted in their loss of their housing or jobs. It would also result in a detrimental amount of food waste and crops being left in the field if workers were unable to complete their jobs.
When asked about her thoughts on this temporary set of rules, Lewison says that this housing rule is a good middle ground to ensure that workers who have been hired have a safe place to live during harvest season. The emergency rules for housing require bunk beds with a head-to-toe sleeping arrangement or beds spread six feet apart, and non-permeable barriers between beds, sinks, and other indoor facilities.
Though these rules went into effect on Monday, all paperwork must be filed by the 28th of May. Lewison sees this as a good time frame for farmers to get the guidelines set, even though it may be a little hectic between preparing for the harvest. However, farmers know that it is important to keep workers safe.
In many ways, Honcoop says, the rules recognize the positive things that farms have already been doing. Although the activists say that farmers aren’t doing anything to protect workers, those claims couldn’t be further from the truth.
Lewison agrees, saying “There is a misinterpretation of what farmers are doing and not doing to protect their workers. The truth is that farmers are very aware that worker safety is a priority. If you’re going to the trouble of hiring employees, you understand that worker safety helps your business to function properly.”
To hear the full interview and learn more see below.