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Work and the Coronavirus

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Helping people understand how COVID-19 affects work and employment by sharing insights and help from ILR's workplace experts.

Farmworker Vulnerabilities Exposed by COVID-19

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Verónica Martínez-Matsuda

In her April 4 article in the History News Network, Verónica Martínez-Matsuda, assistant professor in ILR's Department of Labor Relations, Law, and History, writes:

On my most recent trip for groceries during this COVID-19 self-isolation, I noticed that the grocery store had established new procedures. The store was carefully cleaned and the shopping cart handles had been wiped down with disinfectant. There was a reduced limit to how many shoppers could be in the store at one time.

"There were markers on the floor denoting six feet, the distance that reduces the chances of contagion. And as the cashier scanned my milk and apples, there was a Plexiglas barrier protecting him from airborne pathogens.

"These measures were all assuring and reasonable. The government had deemed the grocery store (and, by extension, the worker) essential, and his labor was keeping our food supply chain operational. Considering the health risk he was taking by being there, it seemed the least that could be done."

Read the article.

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