United Farm Workers

 

ALRB issues ruling to implement UFW contract; Gerawan refuses to comply

11/20/13: We just heard great news for more than 5,000 farm workers employed at Gerawan Farming--one of the world’s biggest fruit growers. Workers at Gerawan voted for the United Farm Workers, but haven't yet benefited from a union contract, as the company continues to fight the workers’ decision ferociously.

You’ll soon see where we need your immediate help:  After the UFW and Gerawan were unable to reach agreement on the full contract, Gerawan was ordered in April by the state farm labor board (ALRB) to engage in mandatory mediation. This resulted in the mediator establishing a 3-year contract with wage increases, bonuses, and numerous worker protections. Gerawan employees and the negotiating committee are very excited about the mediator's report and solidly stand behind it.

The good news: Workers just received word that the ALRB approved the mediator's report. By law, it should immediately become a contract.   

Guadalupe Martinez, who is on the Negotiating Committee, tells us how even before the new contract was finalized, workers saw the immediate effect of Union negotiations before the new contract has gone into effect, "Thanks to the negotiations we were able to reach an agreement of increasing our wages from $9 per hour to $10 per hour."  She is pleased with the final results of the negotiations, telling us, "The result was a contract for 3 years with increases to our hourly wages to $10.25 first year, $10.75 second year and $11.25 the third year along with 4 holidays and everyone will need less hours now to qualify for the bonus. This will apply to direct hires and also to workers of the farm labor contractor."

The bad news: Gerawan is trying to delay the contract -- again! They indicated they do not intend to abide by the ordered contract. Typical.  The ALRB Regional Director found that Gerawan helped orchestrate decertification efforts at its farm. The violations were so outrageous that last Wednesday, the UFW turned in 1,410 pages of objections to the decertification election that included 96 declarations documenting the company involvement.

Gerawan has spared no expense, hiring various separate high-priced law firms to litigate against the UFW and ALRB as well as investing major funds in PR, even TV commercials. Gerawan has gone as far as asking that the FCC revoke the farm worker movement's public radio station in the San Joaquin Valley and has attacked the UFW's efforts to raise funds through the internet and direct mail.

Now they apparently want to force us to retreat, thinking that we won’t have the funds to fight back against all the legal cases they are immersing our attorneys in. We assure you, no matter what, we will not back down. We plan to be there for these Gerawan workers and we can be, but we need your financial support today to raise $250,000 to help with the legal costs. Thank you.

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9/11/13

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