Agricultural Workers Complete Vaccinations through Partnership with County of Santa Clara, Monterey Mushrooms, United Farm Workers and UFW Foundation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2021

Second doses reach critical at-risk population at César Chávez Day event


Santa Clara County, CA – Frontline agricultural workers received second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on César Chávez Day. Approximately 1,000 workers completed their COVID-19 vaccination on Sunday, March 28 and at the César Chávez Day event on March 31.

The farm workers are some of the first to be fully inoculated in Santa Clara County since becoming eligible for vaccines on February 28 and 500 will receive the second dose on Wednesday.

The vaccination drive is a partnership between the County of Santa Clara, United Farm Workers, Monterey Mushrooms, and the UFW Foundation. There have been numerous vaccination events for farm workers at Monterey Mushrooms and other farms in the area.

“Our farmworkers who harvest the food we put on our tables make California and this area one of the largest agricultural producing regions in the world generating billions of dollars in revenue every year,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.  “We need to keep them safe and protected by going to them with the COVID-19 vaccination because they are at increased risk of getting the virus due to working and housing conditions. With this collaboration we are bringing a significant portion of the farmworker population to safety.”

“Farm workers face heightened threats to their health and safety every day as essential laborers," said UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres. "That's why this partnership to provide life-saving vaccines for thousands of farm workers is so critically important. Farm workers want to get vaccinated, but the majority of them don't have access to the vaccines. In fact, a recent UFW Foundation survey of 10,149 agricultural workers found that 73 percent expressed willingness to get vaccinated, with a further 22 percent neutral. We are committed to ensuring life-saving vaccines reach farm workers throughout the country.”

“The issues facing farm workers may evolve, but the cause stays the same,” said Lauro Barajas, UFW National Vice-President. “We are proud to be part of continuing the legacy of César Chávez, and spending today coming together as a community to protect the workers who feed this country.”

Vaccines were completed by the County’s mobile clinic to ensure equitable vaccine administration to all community members, especially those working in sectors and regions of the county most heavily impacted by COVID-19.

“This is a milestone in the effort to vaccinate our farm worker community in Santa Clara County,” said Joe Deviney, Agriculture Commissioner for the County of Santa Clara. “This partnership enabled the County to offer easily accessible shots on the spot, where people work. It’s part of the path to get vaccines to impacted communities as effectively and quickly as supplies allow.”

“It is fitting that this follow-up COVID-19 vaccination event is being held as we celebrate César Chávez's birthday. This is an incredible example of stewardship and collaboration supporting the health and welfare of our teammates and other farmworkers essential to food production. If César were here today, he would be very proud of this effort by the County of Santa Clara, the United Farm Workers, the UFW Foundation and Monterey Mushrooms,” said Shah Kazemi, President & CEO of Monterey Mushrooms.

The County supplied the vaccines, tents, tables, chairs and other support services and administers the vaccines. Monterey Mushrooms, United Farm Workers, and the UFW Foundation provided outreach to raise awareness of the event.

More information about COVID-19 vaccination in Santa Clara County can be found on the County’s website at www.sccfreevax.org, with content available in EnglishSpanishVietnameseChinese, and Tagalog, or by calling 211 where assistance is available in multiple languages.

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ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA

The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.

Visit the County of Santa Clara at www.sccgov.org

ABOUT UNITED FARM WORKERS

Begun in 1962 by César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, Gilbert Padilla and other early organizers, the United Farm Workers of America is the nation’s first enduring and largest farm workers union. The UFW continues organizing in major agricultural sectors, chiefly in California. Recent years have witnessed dozens of UFW union contract victories protecting thousands of farm workers, among them agreements with the some of the largest berry, winery, tomato, dairy and mushroom companies in California and the nation. More than 75 percent of California’s fresh mushroom industry is now under union contract. Many recent UFW-sponsored laws and regulations protect all farm workers in California, especially those at non-union ranches. They include the first state standards in the U.S. to prevent further deaths and illnesses from extreme heat and in 2016 the first law in the country providing farm workers in California with overtime pay after eight hours a day. The UFW continues to actively champion legislative and regulatory reforms for farm workers covering issues such as worker protections, pesticides and immigration reform.

Visit United Farm Workers at www.ufw.org

ABOUT UFW FOUNDATION

For 15 years, the UFW Foundation has mobilized farm workers and their organizations across the country to advocate for more equitable policies, such as immigration reform, pesticide protections, heat standards, hazard pay and other worker protections. In addition to engaging farm workers in systemic change, the organization provides critical services. In fact, the UFW Foundation is the largest federally accredited immigration legal service provider in rural California. During the pandemic, the UFW Foundation has distributed over 837,000 face masks, $17,000,000 in financial assistance, 50,000 food boxes and 189,000 meals, to farm workers and other rural immigrants.

Visit UFW Foundation at www.ufwfoundation.org

ABOUT MONTEREY MUSHROOMS

Founded in 1971, Monterey Mushrooms, a family-owned company provides fresh, locally grown mushrooms to your favorite grocery stores, restaurants, food manufacturers and institutions nationwide.  Today, our 4,000 teammates are proud to grow more than 200 million pounds of fresh mushrooms every year.  Year-round, we grow, harvest, package and distribute fresh mushrooms from nine Monterey Mushrooms farms located across North America.

Visit Monterey Mushrooms at www.montereymushrooms.com

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