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.
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