When Ines De La Luz showed up for work at the Amy’s Kitchen factory in Santa Rosa, California, wearing an arm brace, prescribed after she couldn’t move her hand at the end of a fast-paced shift making frozen burritos in July 2020, she says a supervisor ordered her to remove the brace and return to the production line.
It was the start of a 1½-year ordeal that would send her back and forth to a doctor who she says hesitated to give her tougher work restrictions, and eventually to a new job in the factory disinfecting the cafeteria, alongside other injured workers.
De La Luz and another injured worker who cleans the cafeteria say it was called “the corral,” like on a farm. Though they aren’t sure where the name originated, they say it highlighted the feeling that they were no longer important to the company, a family business that is one of the country’s top makers of vegetarian frozen and canned food. De La Luz says that in the fall of 2021, when she learned she was a candidate for surgery to treat her arm injury, Amy’s Kitchen told her it was eliminating her position in the cafeteria and laid her off.
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