Remarks by GreenLatinos Board Member, Andrea Delgado in reaction to the EPA’s finalization of the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS)

andrea-delgado3-800.jpgWhen it comes to personal protective equipment, the right to know about chemicals used on the job, safety training, and emergency assistance, 2.7 million farmworkers have inferior protections than workers in other industrial sectors.

Over the past years, I’ve had the honor of working in hand in hand with farmworkers across the country and many of the leaders on this call, and our collective message to the Administration and Congress has been clear and unyielding:

Farmworkers--who are on the frontlines of occupational exposure to pesticides-- deserve parity in protections and nothing less. 

Today I am heartened to say that the EPA listened and that we applaud the Agency and the Administration for delivering a standard that brings federal protections closer to parity for some of the most vulnerable workers in the nation and in the Latino and immigrant community, whether they are documented or not. 

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Once implemented and enforced, the new requirements will result in safer working conditions and long-term health benefits for farmworkers, pesticide handlers and their families.

This standard also gives farmworkers renewed hope in our democratic process and in the political will to protect the most vulnerable.

As advocates and organizers, we know that policymaking in the beltway is only as valuable as its ability to be impactful for the most affected and a resource for community-based organizations.

To ensure the new protections reach the fields and the communities where they are needed most, and in a language that workers can understand, the priority will continue to be bilingual outreach and engagement in close collaboration with our partners in the farmworker, labor, and Latino community.

We look forward to working with the EPA and other federal agencies that will be involved in this process, to ensure these safeguards can become a reality for farmworkers across the nation.This standard is for Sorangel in California, Ofelia in Florida, Dolores in NY, Fernando in MN, and many farmworkers who know what it’s like to be exposed to pesticides, have taken great risks to protect themselves and others and will now count with stronger protections from exposure and retaliation. 

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