California farm workers remain on the job despite poor air quality

Eriberto Fernandez of United Farm Workers of America discusses how California farm workers remain on the job harvesting crops despite terrible air quality due to the wildfires.
5:13 | 11/19/18

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Transcript for California farm workers remain on the job despite poor air quality
All right well because of all that air quality we have actually seen schools closing classes across the state but one thing that hasn't been closed. Is California's farmland in Reno there's quite a bit of it farmworkers are out there working. In these conditions and that's sparking some worries are better Fernandez of the united farmworkers of America. Is with us talking about that an air Barrow what kind of conditions are these farmworkers facing right now. You know did you end. We should all know that farm workers are already working under some of the most dangerous. Back break in physically demanding work. And this is another layer the fires are in other words that. Bob workers are constantly being paraded by. So many different about Arnold's classic is whether it's high heat conditions. Or no hard hard. I'm windy cold temperatures. Now these fires are adding to an already dangerous backbreaking difficult. Work and we're looking at photos are now of people working with masks and other kinds of precautions. Our day and their bosses trying to taped to preserve their safety. So under California law. Employers are required tube provide as much. Helped to their workers is possible the record provide. Any sort of protective personal equipment that they need and this case. Workers should be receiving. I agree. Reasonable masks so that they can Wear and in the singles as it working but as you know this. Because work is so hard and so dangerous and it's very fast pace that. These mass actually interfere with the work in the fields. And that had a house. What you know the the that he's an ass although they're you know there there Matt to prevent people from inhaling toxic fumes and toxic air. We really does it doesn't really allow workers to continue your cute. Be as productive as it could be and end in an otherwise normal circumstances. And so when farmworkers are asked to Wear these masked it really. Doesn't really help them if there's really help them do their jobs so. Last sermon to preserve their safety you say it on is it sounds like you're saying they all aware of them. Because it's gonna slow them down what's your recommendation. Well under under united farm worker contracts we see that. There are. Companies that would actually shut down at provide employees with paid time ops that would be ideal for any employer. In agriculture. But unfortunately most most companies are allowed to these benefits so I'm oftentimes you CDs underpaid workers forced to work. Under these group. Unfortunate circumstances. Firm for several reasons. Because there's so underpaid they're sort of force to keep working under the sink and British opens. And because they're not really protected by. They're not really protected employees. They're afraid of being blacklisted. Or and there they don't want to be. Not loud come back to work if they decide is get the day's. A lot of a lot of these farmworkers welcome back to work it. By the horrors request is there a if there last year but the popular power not to say oh I'm not can continue working with. And hey you know ever as a reached out to OSHA in California who oversees. Sort of the good. General landscape of what's going on there and there they did explain that offends them they do send out advisories to employees and the workers to try to let them know once situations like this occur at the air quality is unsafe and so on and so forth. But we get asked about action being taken and they've made clear that they sort of rely on complaints to be made first. For them to come in and get involved we asked them if they've received any complaints about these notes they said. They would have to look into that so and it's so it doesn't sound like they receive very many if they still have to look into the at the moment. Yeah and there's so many reasons why that is number one most. Farmworkers in the country are working unfortunately. If are documented so there's there's there's this big cheer. The government agencies and contacting them to begin where it. I do think Jews. Most are. Workers don't know who to call so totally rely on local organizations they rely on united farmworkers to believe that the conduit to this information. And and that there's if you're under reporting hobby absolutes. Farm workers to these agencies. They're not gonna call and to file a complaint. And they're. This isn't enough information on tic you know finance it to do that. And let it at the very least right now employers should be requiring every employee suit to Wear protective gear. Aaron will hopefully by putting this out there we are helping at least a little bit you know these are the people making the food that we need to heat hopefully. Their bosses are seeing to it and they are seeing to it that they are doing so safely Arab bird from the united farmworkers of America we appreciate it thanks for taking the time. Did you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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