“Essential” but Expendable: Farmworkers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Alexis J. Handal, Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, Paul J. Fleming, Mislael A. Valentín-Cortés, and Marie S. O’Neill, 2020: “Essential” but Expendable: Farmworkers During the COVID-19 Pandemic—The Michigan Farmworker Project American Journal of Public Health 110, 1760_1762, https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2020.305947

For “essential” blue-collar workers, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated health, social, and economic inequities by race, ethnicity, and immigration status—particularly for Black and Latinx populations.1 Inequities in COVID-19 infections, illness, and death result from historical and current racist and anti-immigrant policies and practices that affect access to health, social, and economic benefits for minoritized communities.2

In our qualitative community-engaged research—the Michigan Farmworker Project—we conducted 55 in-depth interviews (34 with female and male farmworkers and 21 with stakeholders). Our results highlight how the precarity of farmworkers’ working and living conditions can be exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. We report findings and recommend protective policies. Supporting quotations are presented in the Appendix (available as a supplement to the online version of this article at http://www.ajph.org).

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