Fired For Fleeing Fire: 15 Lose Their Jobs

    May 9, 2013
    Amanda Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

15 people were fired last week for abandoning their jobs picking strawberries in California when a wildfire got a little too close to where they were.

The Springs Fire left 28,000 acres burned and devastated a large portion of Ventura County, but that didn’t stop the foremen at a nearby strawberry farm from threatening the employees with termination if they left. The workers took off anyway due to the large amount of smoke and ash in the air.

“The ashes were falling on top of us,” one worker told NBC LA. “They told us if we leave, there would be no job to return to.”

Indeed, they were fired when they returned to their jobs on May 3rd, and contacted the United Farm Workers for help even though they weren’t part of a union.

“No worker shall work under conditions where they feel his life or health is in danger,” Lauro Barrajas of the UFW said.

Eventually, the workers were offered their jobs back, but only one person accepted.

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

  • S Kirk

    This is disgusting! They put the strawberry’s over the lives of these men. Shame on you people. Scum of the earth. I’m sick and tired of profit winning out over morality. Character determines what kind of world we want to live in. One where there is no compassion or respect for other….or complete selfishness and disregard for life. With the latter….all we have to do is look to history to show us where that takes us. Good Heavens

    • Tammi

      Some of the responses are discusting. No fricken strawberry is worth someones life. That foreman should be ashamed of himself and I’m glad most of the workers didn’t return when offered there jobs back.

  • doug

    Before you judge their character and profit mongering, you might want to consider the product is available once per year, and there may in fact be NO profit. This might be making ends meet. No sale no jobs for anyone. We dont know the actual fire risk. Point is dont be so quick to judge. Everyone assumes the “big” company is wrong.

  • RON


  • Nathaniel Blaze

    And people think slavery is over with….I think that it has just taken on a new, evolved form. One where the masters use money and job security to scare those under them instead of brutal beatings.

  • http://yahoo.com Kevin S

    Look if someone want a job where fire is not an issue swim across some other river. I for one like strawberries and if a couple of “agricultural independent contractors” have to get a little ash in their sombreros or an extra toasting on their Tostito’s so be it….
    Just kidding….. sort of.

    • Ray

      Funny as hell!!!

  • Bic

    George Costanza must have been the group leader

  • http://URL cesar chavez


  • IceLily

    This is no surprise! I have seen this and experienced this first hand either myself or through others during hurricanes and blizzards. Companies threatening or even firing people if they do not come in EVEN with the local governments/local LE having issued a mandatory curfew or evacuation.

    Even after such natural disasters when essential gov employees or agencies are trying to conduct rescues, assessing damage to residential homes/commercial buildings, etc….

    No power, the roads a mess, traffic lights not working etc….

    I remember when working for a Walgreens in South Florida in the early 90s while I was going to college being told I would be coming into work. I was living at home at the time, I had 3 part time jobs and going to college full time. My parents were like no way there is a mandatory curfew and they were actually trying to make their way home from their vacation. The store manager trying to tell me that he is my boss not my parents when I told him sorry I was not scheduled and I am not willing to be arrested. I went in the next day or two after the hurricane with a letter stating my resignation for his actions. He tore it up but I had sent it to the District and Regional Managers. It was a minimal job that was part time and I was not even on the schedule being cursed and threatened.

    I also worked for City Government during the hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. I seen how some companies were. I had to be at work as soon as the local government I lived at cleared it and as soon as I was notified by my superiors as myself and co-workers were considered essential workers.
    Seeing how many people out and about who actually made it harder for rescues to be done, people to be helped who needed help etc….

    We even had some man drive all the way to the City Hall I worked at who flipped out on us because we were not open for NORMAL business (like taking some commercial permit for some new restaurant) because we had NO power and we were 1) Trying to help residents who needed permits to repair their homes, those that had medical issues and needed power, had to evacuate their unsafe homes, etc…..

    He cursed at us, threatened our jobs and then our main boss came out and put him in his place telling him what type of person goes to an area that has just had a natural disaster and does not even call to find out if our agency was conducting normal business.

    Heck FEMA had us all over the town that we were not even hardly doing our regular jobs.

    I have seen companies in Indiana and Ohio telling their employees to come in even though there was a mandatory curfew or not to be out on the roads. They even fired people for not breaking the law to come into work.

    I think there are a lot of jerks and they should be held accountable.