Compiled by INDYKIDS STAFF
Immokalee, Florida, is home to the state’s largest community of farmworkers, who are mostly immigrants from Latin American countries. These farmworkers pick much of the tomato and citrus crops grown in Florida. Because U.S. labor law does not recognize the right of farmworkers to overtime pay or the right to organize unions, these workers are often paid very little to work long hours under harsh conditions. Here’s a look at a day in the life of an Immokalee farmworker.
4:30 AM: Wake up. Prepare lunch in your trailer.
5:00 AM: Walk to the pick-up site to begin looking for work.
6:30 AM: With luck, a contractor will choose you to work for him for the day. Take a bus to the fields 10 to 100 miles away.
7:30 AM: Arrive at fields; wait while the dew evaporates from the tomatoes. You are usually not paid for this time.
9:00 AM: Begin picking tomatoes. Fill buckets, hoist them on your shoulder, run them 100 feet or more to the truck and throw the bucket into the truck. You must pick two tons of tomatoes in order to earn $50.
12:00 PM: Eat lunch as fast as you can, often with your hands soaked in pesticides.
5:00 PM (or later): Board bus to return to Immokalee.
Between 5:30 and 8:00 PM: Arrive in Immokalee and walk home.
For more information about the Coalition of Immokalee Farmworkers, visit www.ciw-online.org
TEXT COURTESY OF THE COALITION OF IMMOKALEE FARMWORKERS