Farm settles with workers who fled wildfire smoke

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Farm workers pick crops with Springs Fire in background. (AP Photo)

Farm workers pick crops with Springs Fire in background. (AP Photo)

OXNARD, Calif. (AP) — Farmworkers who fled a Ventura County strawberry field because of smoke from a wildfire have been told they can return and that their presumed firing was a misunderstanding.

About 15 workers concerned about smoke inhalation from the Springs Fire left the harvest at Crisalida Berry Farms in Oxnard on May 2 as smoke and ash blew onto the field.

Some of the workers later told the local United Farm Workers office they’d been told they were fired and couldn’t return. They also complained they weren’t paid.

KEYT-TV says the union and the farm issued a joint statement Wednesday calling it a misunderstanding.

A union official tells the Ventura County Star that the workers have been offered back pay and jobs, but only one woman has indicated she’ll return.

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