WG leaders have been in frequent communication with California officials to provide on-the-ground feedback and help shape the state’s emergency policy responses to the Coronavirus pandemic. CDFA Secretary Karen Ross is leading the Administration’s policy development for agriculture and food production issues during the crisis. At the moment, state health and labor agencies are reviewing worker health, hygiene and sanitation standards to determine whether any additional precautions are needed. WG created a summary for state officials of the thorough and stringent existing federal, state and industry standards already in place.
Based on feedback from WG’s Board of Directors, several other priority issues have been elevated for consideration by the Newsom Administration:
- H-2A: WG asked that Gov. Newsom urge the federal government to continue processing H-2A applications. As we report elsewhere, the State Department’s decision to stop processing new applicants at U.S. consulates in Mexico is the subject of ongoing lobbying by WG and other industry groups.
- CHILD CARE: With schools closed, we are concerned that many in our workforce will be unable to secure child care and have suggested state emergency funding as well as emergency licensing of established churches that are stepping in to fill the need.
- TRANSPORTATION: WG requested the Governor’s assistance with federal authorities to help expedite movement of containers back to California to facilitate shipping demand.
- CRITICAL WORKERS: WG asked that the Governor declare food production (farming through processing) a critical industry and ensure that local governments exempt farming and food production operations from “shelter-in-place” orders (see separate article on this).
Look for updates in Spotlight in the coming days.
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