7 Undocumented Workers Were Fired From A Virginia Trump Winery After The Harvest Was Over
In 2018, vineyards in Virginia had an unfortunate season. The area experienced too much rain. Local winemakers called it the “toughest” season in the past two decades and that the harsh weather made it, so they produced less wine because so many grapes were lost. This season, however — because climate change has brought forth such unpredictable weather forecasts — Virginia vineyards had a very successful season. With such a positive harvest, one would assume that vineyard workers would get some kind of bonus. Instead, they got fired.
Seven undocumented employees that worked at a Trump Virginia winery were fired before the end of the year because they were not U.S. citizens.
The Washington Post reports that the firing came at the end of December, before the start of 2020, which is odd timing considering other undocumented employees at other Trump properties almost a year ago.
Back at the start of 2019, undocumented employees that worked at a Trump golf course in New Jersey were fired for lack of documentation to work in the U.S. So far, most of the workers that were fired back then said that the higher-ups, including President Donald Trump and his children who own the properties, were aware that they had undocumented workers on their payroll. Even then, the firings were odd, considering the president has been on an anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, and anti-undocumented agenda since before his election. Yet all of the firings, even the most recent ones, seem to come when it’s most convenient for the company.
The undocumented workers were fired at the end of the harvest season when they had completed their work on the vineyard.
Workers told the Washington Post that while they had anxiety about losing their jobs all year, especially after other undocumented employees at other properties were fired. But work went on as usual at the vineyard. The workers also report that earlier in December, Eric Trump, who is listed as the president of some of the Trump properties, visited the vineyard and was very gracious to his employees. The Post was in touch with several of the undocumented employees for months prior to their firing.
“He gave me his hand,” Omar Miranda, one of the employees that was fired, recalled to the Post about Eric’s visit. Miranda had won a raffle, and Eric shook his hand and added, “Eric is like a co-worker.” Then, a couple of weeks later, he was fired.
The workers said that Trump, his family, and management knew exactly what they were doing when they waited to fire them after the grape season had ended.
“They didn’t make this decision in the summer because they needed us a lot then,” Miranda told the Post. Another employee said, “I think they wanted to get their product out well, the grapes, to make sure that was taken care of, and once things were slow, they could fire us all.”
The publication asked the Trump organization about why they waited so long to fire these undocumented employees, and their statement was the same as it was last year when they fired employees at the golf course: “Consistent with our efforts, we will immediately terminate any individual who has provided fake identification in order to unlawfully gain employment.”
People on social media expressed their anger over the timing of this firing as well as Trump’s treatment of their undocumented workers.
Chef José Andrés tweeted, “Mr. @realDonaldTrump why instead of firing them 3 years into your presidency, you pass immigration reform, giving #DREAMers and undocumented the place in the USA they deserve?”
“Not only are trump companies still employing undocumented immigrants, they hold off firing them in order take advantage of their labor as long as possible,” another tweeted. “He has no shame.”
As we noted earlier, this season Virginia experienced one of the best grape seasons in years. So it makes sense management didn’t want to fire employees until after the harvest to take advantage of the booming business.
“You have the perfect alignment of rainfall, sun, wind, weather, to where the quality of your grapes are the highest you’ve seen in a really long time,” Winemaker Emily Pelton told WHSV3 News.
Perhaps if the season had been a washout as it was in 2018, the undocumented employees would have been fired earlier in the year. We guess there’s always a silver lining.