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Photo Essay: California Farmworker – Orange Picker

Photo by Chris Sanchez (c.1972)
Orange picker on a 12-foot ladder with a sling around his neck attached to a bucket works piece rate to earn his money – the faster he works, the more he is paid. Take a good look: the ladder is supported by 1 pole and the tree. This farmworker is 6-feet off the ground with still another 6-feet to go before he can pick at the top of the tree. The more he picks the heavier his bucket gets and his balance more and more precarious.  How unsafe and dangerous is this harvest work? Very!
Who determines the worker-safety conditions to protect these farmworkers? The answer is no one – farmworkers were excluded 83- years ago from any such labor law protections. They have no rights.
The orange picking work rules are simple: if you want to earn money to feed your family, here is the ladder, the sling-bucket, and the orange bin.  This is what I am willing to pay for each bin, the more bins you pick, the more you earn. Social justice? Words only!  They do not apply to farmworkers.


Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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