Gerawan Farming Inc. is one of the world’s biggest fruit growers with about 6,000 workers. It grows peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and table grapes. Workers at Gerawan voted for the United Farm Workers during a 1990 state-conducted secret-ballot election, but they have not yet benefited from a union contract.
Despite the lack of a contract, workers benefited from the UFW presence through higher wages. It was only after the UFW resumed negotiations with Gerawan, that Gerawan gave workers long overdue wage increases in amounts ranging from $1 to $2.50 per hour for different employees and/or classifications and established a $10 per hour floor for general laborers.
After the UFW and Gerawan negotiated for months but were unable to reach agreement on the full contract, Gerawan was ordered by the state farm labor board in April to engage in mandatory mediation with the UFW. That means a neutral State Mediator is finalizing the unresolved issues contained in a contract so the workers at Gerawan can finally have what they voted for.
The state’s ALRB issued a formal complaint against Gerawan on Aug. 15, accusing the giant farm of coercing its workers into signing petitions to get rid of the UFW. Six days later the state went before a Fresno County Superior Court judge who issued a temporary restraining order for Gerawan to cease and desist from unlawfully assisting in the circulation of a petition to decertify, or get rid, of the UFW.
The independent state mediator should release his decision sometime in September. When he does, the Gerawan workers want their company to obey the law and implement the contract they have waited so long for.
Can you show these workers you support them by signing their petition today? Tell the company to implement the contract finalized by the State Mediator. Workers plan to hand this petition into the company once the Mediator’s decision is announced.