The wildfires that have spread through California have had a big affect on seasonal workers in the area. Not only has their income been affected over the last couple of weeks, but some of their employers have sustained major damage that may limit future employment. While some seasonal employees are protected by state and federal laws, undocumented workers do not have these same protections, and this may have a major influence on the businesses that depend on these workers.
According to National Public Radio, Sonoma County is one of the regions that sustained a lot of fire damage, which has affected countless people who work in agriculture, wine and tourism. Many of the seasonal workers are unable to pay rent, or even fill their vehicles up with gas, because they depend on the consistent work and this time off has greatly affected their income. Because owners of the wineries realize how valuable these workers are, some are still planning on paying them.
Unfortunately not everyone who works seasonally is that lucky. Many of the workers in the wine and agricultural industries are undocumented, which means they are not protected by state and federal regulations. Other people who have been affected by the fires include housekeepers, landscapers, nannies and gardeners of homes that have burned. According to Newsweek, these workers are ineligible for disaster aid, such as housing assistance and unemployment benefits, which is offered by the government. The community has come together to help support workers who have lost jobs and income by supplying food and money, but it is unknown as to when these people will get back to regular employment.