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Apr 4, 2020

Essential workers

Co-produced with PRX Logo

Chances are those tomatoes, strawberries or almonds you find in your grocery store come from California’s farm country. Monica Campbell of our partner The World takes us into the fields with workers, who are harvesting crops in the middle of the pandemic. She investigates how they’re being protected from the coronavirus and asks what happens if they get too sick to work. 

Host Al Letson talks to an employee of a Winn-Dixie grocery store. He is home sick with symptoms of COVID-19 but doesn’t qualify for a test and says he’s fed up with how he is being treated. 

Reveal’s Will Carless gives us an overview of how grocery store employees across the country say they are being treated on the job, both physically and financially. 

We check in with The Okra Project, a food justice initiative for black transgender New Yorkers, to learn how it’s continuing to serve the community amid the coronavirus lockdown.

We end with a look at workers in another industry that’s been hit hard by the coronavirus: airlines. Letson speaks with a flight attendant who says his airline has been slow to take measures to protect passengers and crew. Then he speaks with Reveal data reporter Melissa Lewis about conflicting information one airline is sending to its employees and how flight attendants throughout the system are concerned for their safety.

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Reported by: Monica Campbell, Will Carless, Patrick Michels and Melissa Lewis

Produced by: Monica Campbell, Anayansi Diaz Cortes, Michael Schiller and Emily Schwing

Edited by: Kevin Sullivan, Brett Myers, Jen Chien and Taki Telonidis

Production manager: Mwende Hinojosa

Production assistance: Amy Mostafa

Sound design: Jim Briggs, Fernando Arruda and Claire Mullen

Mixing: Najib Aminy

Special thanks to Reveal’s engagement team: Sumi Aggarwal, Byard Duncan and Hannah Young

Executive producer: Kevin Sullivan

Editorial support from Andrew Donohue, Narda Zacchino, Soo Oh and Esther Kaplan

Episode photo by Monica Campbell for Reveal

Support for Reveal is provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, Democracy Fund, and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.