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"Touted as 'Essential'... Treated as Disposable": Labor Day Anger as Migrant Farm Workers Toil Inside Wildfire Evacuation Zones

This is straight out of the playbook that claimed that many slave owners were also good to their slaves by the way. You must be anglo.

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What is right out of the playbook? Are you familiar with the area?

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Ah yes, just another day in the land of the free. Migrant workers sent into evacuation zones to pick grapes and prisoners sent to fight horrific scenes where asphyxiation or being burned alive are significantly possible. We Americans must have our wine to sip and prison labor is so frigging cheap, how could we resist? Capitalism must be regulated by a government that can keep check against it’s destructive nature.


So, arsenic, desertification and “produced water” irrigation aren’t problems to the Trader Joe’s or 365 set… BUT folks give a shit about actual essential workers (the new Black) being herded into a literal hell on earth, so Creative Class™ folks can work from their “vacation cottage,” all drunked-up? I’d first worked in Napa ~1990, but at the old Kaiser 42" pipe mill, now dismantled. I’d never shopped with Robin, Francis or Whoopi previously, so couldnt help but laugh at just how many “They Live” lizard ladies haunted the Trancas’ Bel Aire Plaza or how BLATANT the bigotry felt (next to Duquesne, PA or Pearlington, MS?) Some of the lucky specialist visiting workers make out, fine. But, even Okie W4 heavy industry workers seemed to be torn from the cover of Tortilla Flats or Cannary Row. It’s a matter of a perspective, we never ever hear about, or would comprehend. I’m sure Kamala will try for FDA, Justice, DHS, DEA or ICE, once Trump’s reinstalled?

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My grandparents, aunts and uncles, both farmed and did migrant farm labor, during the Great Depression and after, disposable?
They are more than essential, they are family.


“I will always be on the side of those who have nothing and who are not even allowed to enjoy the nothing they have in peace.”

Federico Garcia Lorca
Poet and political activist
Murdered in 1936 by Spanish fascists


Many of these workers are skilled H2-a or H2-b visa guest workers. Vineyard work requires specific skills and most vintners are descendants of migrant labor. They earn around $14, less if they are unskilled but still minimum wage. Those not eligible for the federal stimulus money were provided with a stimulus benefit from the state even though they are not citizens or guest workers. Most of these business’ are family owned. There are workers from all over the world there and no one is forcing them to be there. I guess I don’t have to remind you that over 2 million acres here have burned in the fires and thousands displaced. I think every hand is valued.

Two million acres in California, there are severe fires in Washington and other areas too.

I was watching a documentary, “The silence of Others” about victims of Franco’s fascism in Spain. They have monuments to it and are in the process of removing some of it, restoring the victims and other levels of accountability. One of Franco’s mottos was “Make Spain Great Again”. It is very good.

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We were told, time after time: media, Local, State & Federal shills, about to cost tens-of-thousands of needless deaths (compare us to the Bay Area) that our “essential workers” were not being forced to work 1099/ app gigs sick, since they couldn’t get tested, no matter how many times they staggered in the icy rain for hours, infecting each other, loved ones and coworkers. Terrified temps “contractors” brought in to replace sick medical, first responder and corpse truck drivers. All eager to don crusty, weeks old masks 2nd hand hoodies or plastic tarps or gerry-rig face shields from plastic & tape: ride packed subways, since MTA drivers were dying by the dozens. Nobody forcing them. Mr Market didn’t cause six times excess deaths, 3-5 times as many “essentials,” mostly Hispanic, Black, many immigrant volunteers. Next: teachers, drivers, childcare, family & friends…





Oh thank you for the links, I had a chance to look at some of this but just going out. I will give this more attention when I get back. Ugh, mask, hand sanitizer, and so on…

I agree though, the use of contract labor changes everything and should be looked at more closely.

Stay safe…

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Hi Beli_Tsari:

weirdly, she stood up to Biden in the debates by reminding him that she, as a small child had to be bussed to school to get fairness. Sad that she didn’t remember how she treated the prisoners in CA—and for an State employee, weird that she didn’t know that what she did was illegal…

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Hi LaResistencia:
sigh----yes and now we hear that they are even more ill housed, not given access to health care----- forced to fight fires without proper PPE–and they really are treated like slaves. : ( " is se puede is getting stomped on----time for some NO! No es possible!!!

I’d actually joined my girlfriend, watching the “debates” for shit like that, Tulsi returning the favor with her voluminous lies, corruption and criminality; or Senator Warren’s perfectly placed, crystal clear magical “open mic” instant, “did you call me a fucking liar, you angry old Communist?” “Why, YES, Elizabeth. The only reason DNC even has you up here, is to CRUSH anything even remotely like Democracy, choice or truth!” Or, that time when all the deceased Super Tuesday primary voters took to the stage, still intubated… eating Tom Perez still steaming brain? We DESERVE frigging Kamala. When a few of us predicted this, on Naked Capitalism OVER A YEAR AGO, people thought it facetious tin foil conspiracy!

*It was almost like Joe was SURPRISED? If elected, we were guessing she’d gnaw through his spine and right out of his chest before his feeble hand ever left the Bible? As IF!!!

Ok, I’ve had a chance to look at this from some of the attached articles point of view as well the experiences other people here have provided. This is a unique work environment that does a lot of things the right way being challenged by extraordinary conditions. Even if you leave that area to some of the more southern vineyards conditions change. Much bigger wineries, well known, and other industries related to wine making. My grandparents first farm on the Merced River is now owned by one of them and now all grapes. There are all sorts of issues that contribute to these conditions, and specialized problems for workers. In CA with the smoke being a hazard we all face worker and non-worker alike. It was really bad again today. Our state has lost billions of dollars from this industry and it won’t recover anytime soon. Add that to the Corona Virus and we are living in very stressed times.

I can barely imagine the conditions in New York and what that must be like and I can’t help but feel this may be the first of more to come.

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Our old friends are mostly spread up and down the Sonoma Valley, with some in particularly vulnerable, isolated areas. Also a couple, both Oakland nurses, recovering from COVID, experiencing worse apoxia & inflammatory shit than we did, back in March. Nobody seems to have AC, HEPA air filters (or much, by way of accurate, timely, pertinent information from social media support sites?) We’d all sort’ve watched Napa Valley’s climate change accelerate in relentless stop motion? Trying to sleep across from a firehouse was pretty useless, day or night (two or three times a year, for three decades). Then we’d fly to Florida, Alabama or Louisiana for EF5 twisters, terrifying record breaking hurricanes. All the while, our know nothing API clients had us rejecting worse and worse pipe, so they could buy it cheap, from distributors. We’d ALWAYS joke in disbelief, at PG&E’s archaic, overgrown, totally neglected transformers, 1940s style split power-poles & wind-blown creosote smelling tinder, everywhere?





I hope your friends are finding safety, it sounds like they should really be vigilant now. It is true most people in the Bay area don’t have AC because it usually isn’t needed. The air is very bad over most of the state. I use to live on the Sonoma/Napa county line quite a few years ago. Hurricanes are still a mystery to me. I don’t have to use PG&E but they took a wrong turn some time ago.

Always interesting links and point of view. Thanks very much.

Speedy recovery as well.

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Because they aren’t American citizens or legal permanent residents, they likely get to pay them below US minimum wage. This is how more and more work will be structured. Thats a huge goal of the business community for the coming years, switch over more and more work to what they frame as the new way of working.

They insist that we’re “throwing trillions of dollars on the sidewalk” for every year we delay.
Ultimately, guest workers are expected to become the default way of working in the US.

Thats why they want to get rid of Social Security. Its standing in the way of this huge shift that so many oligarchs are already counting their increased profits from.

It also helps polluters a lot. Peoples lives are valued based on how much they earn, so the potential liability companies have when employing foreign workers is lower if they are injured and seek compensation, just like it is with children, the retired and the unemployed. (unless they experience extreme pain and suffering, which is limited so substantially in the state of California, so much so that even people who have been seriously injured and culpability is as clear as the nose on your face, they still cant get an attorney, because lawyers are so expensive and their lives just arent worth enough)

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Her sister’s by BART in Berkeley, where it’s like Mordor at 8AM smoke wise. Those friends, up in Wine country, are still working. So, we’re actually having an easier time finding KF-94 masks & Winix HEPA filters from e-vendors, who’s warehouses weren’t stripped bare, yet. Thanks for your empathy, but we’d REALLY lucked out COVID-wise, so far? I’m still heartily recommending the D3, zinc, Quercetin (or other isoflavonoid phyto-polyphenols) and trying to keep viral load of any exposure down? 2nd Wave in 5… 4… 3…

~https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/08/health/covid-masks-immunity.html (we’d wondered about this: with 5-26% sero-prevalence, folks thought our cytokines would go crazy, what with loud mouthbreathers STILL kvetching!)




Hi Beli_Tsari:
Tom Perez has a brain??? : )

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Yesterday was a beast. Sweeping up the ash from the various fires that surround the area. We here are not facing the same dangers in many respects but still issues exist. Today it is much cooler than anticipated, I think it is because of the extreme haze, It is really ghost like weather.

Good ideas for D3, zinc, Quercetin (I was unaware) already taking D3 for other reasons and even though tests found levels to be normal, I’ve seen improvement with suppliments. I’ve read anyone that lives in upper northern hemisphere don’t get adequate D3…

Again the links are great. Enjoyed the one on brain health. Am looking forward to a few new neuro pathways.

Thank you

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