The Port of Los Angeles, Logistics Victory Los Angeles (LoVLA) and CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, donated 75,000 respiratory face masks to the United Farm Workers of America, which represents farm workers and is actively advocating for the health and safety of all farm workers who continue to work outdoors amid the pandemic, wildfire smoke and extreme heat.
“Farm workers never take a day off, even in the face of threats to their health and safety –– and their determination means there’s never a shortage of food on our shelves, in our pantries, and on our tables,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Delivering these masks to these courageous folks upholds our core commitment: to serve our essential, frontline workers as well as they serve us.”
“Even as the UFW works hard to aid farm workers with the pandemic and heat, the danger to farm workers is now escalating because of a third plague: smoke from wildfires afflicting some of the state’s prime agricultural regions,” said Teresa Romero, President of United Farm Workers. “That is why we are so grateful for this donation from the Port of Los Angeles of 75,000 respiratory face masks. The UFW is making arrangements to quickly transport the masks to major state farming areas being hard hit by the fires, and to distribute them in the fields, especially in Northern California.”
“Reaching out and assisting the United Farm Workers, a critical group of workers facing challenging conditions, is directly aligned with our mission to help keep workers stay safe and assist in the re-emergence of our state and nation’s economy,” said Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles and City of Los Angeles’ Chief Logistics Officer. “We’re thankful to CMA CGM, who signed on as an early supporter of LoVLA, as well as the partnership with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.”
Donated by French shipping line CMA CGM, a world leader in shipping and logistics, to the City of Los Angeles through LoVLA, the FFP2 respirator masks—the European equivalent to N95— were first distributed last week and will continue to be given to farm workers this week. Launched at the outset of the pandemic, LoVLA was designed to match both medical and non-medical suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with organizations in critical need of PPE and other supplies.
“We are pleased that a portion of the masks donated by the CMA CGM Group will be used to protect America’s farm workers,” said Ed Aldridge, President of CMA CGM America. “The work they do is absolutely critical to the country’s food supply chain. It means a lot to everyone at CMA CGM to support our port partners and the agricultural community as we all work together to overcome the challenges facing the great state of California and our nation.”
“It is unconscionable that farm workers still lack basic protections, like masks, during a global pandemic,” said Ron Herrera, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “There is nothing more fundamental to life than food and water, yet the very workers who pick our food and provide us with life are unnecessarily putting their own lives at risk. The LA Federation of Labor is extremely grateful for our partnership with the Port of LA, and for the generous donation that CMA CGM has provided. This donation will make a true, lifesaving difference for thousands of farm workers.”
The Port of Los Angeles is focused on bringing more agricultural exports to overseas markets. Soybeans and grains have been among the Port’s top exports for the past few years. The Port exports fruit and vegetables from California’s Central Valley and alfalfa from Imperial Valley to a number of global markets.
The CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, donated 200,000 masks to LoVLA earlier this year. CEVA Logistics’ Los Angeles operations facility was involved in the coordination of the air charters for the special delivery. Throughout the pandemic, CMA CGM has offered relief to some of the most vulnerable communities around the world by donating masks, medical and hygienic supplies, emergency food assistance, storage containers and educational support.
Founded in 1962 by the late civil rights leader César Chávez and other early organizers, the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) is the nation’s first enduring and largest farm workers’ union. The UFW continues organizing in major agricultural regions, with union contracts in California, Oregon and Washington state. Recent years have witnessed dozens of new or re-negotiated UFW agreements protecting thousands of vegetable, berry, wine grape, tomato, dairy and mushroom workers. The UFW continues to actively champion legislative and regulatory reforms for farm workers covering issues such as worker protections, pesticides, heat and immigration reform. In 2016, the union won a law for the first time, covering California farm workers with overtime pay after eight hours a day phased in over four years.
Since 1885, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (LA Fed) has been a force for equality and opportunity in Los Angeles, representing more than 300 affiliated unions with common values. The organization’s mission is to safeguard the rights of working people and make a real difference for their families and communities.
The Port of Los Angeles remains open with all terminals operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $276 billion in trade during 2019. San Pedro Bay port complex operations and commerce facilitate one in nine jobs across the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura.