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RAFI-USA Helps Lead NC Workers Week of Action

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, RAFI-USA has been working in unconventional ways to address the mounting crisis in our food system. One of those ways has been participating in Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN) coalition meetings to address the health concerns of the essential workers who power our North Carolina agricultural system. 

Agricultural workers, especially farmworkers and meat processing plant workers, have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Working in already high-risk environments for little pay, often with no benefits, these workers have been simultaneously deemed essential and disposable by government officials. While we witnessed more than 50,000 agricultural workers nationally contract COVID-19 and thousands in North Carolina alone, government officials in Raleigh have treated worker protections like a political hot potato — throwing the blame around with no one willing to take strong action to protect agricultural workers and our communities. 

Agricultural workers are a vital link in our food chain. Without providing workers with adequate protections, farmers also feel the impacts of a broken food chain. These are our families, friends, neighbors, and community members. That’s why we formally joined FAN in September and participated in a North Carolina Workers Week of Action. Our social media hashtag, #ProtectNCWorkers, reached tens-of-thousands of people and resulted in a coalition of more than 120 labor, farm, faith, and civil rights groups, representing millions of people in North Carolina and across the country, calling on our North Carolina government officials to take strong actions to protect food workers.

As an organization that believes everyone who labors in agriculture deserves to be respected, protected, and valued by society, we will continue working to protect the communities that feed us.