A Message from the United Farm Workers:
It’s hard to believe it. Last Monday a neutral administrative judge began to hear testimony on indictments from state prosecutors charging Gerawan Farming with multiple, serious and repeated violations of the law. Gerawan sells its products under the Prima label. Already workers who have evidence are feeling the pressure due to an attempt to intimidate and tamper with the first witness to testify at last week’s hearing. He was testifying about witnessing how the Gerawans illegally supported the drive to decertify the United Farm Workers.
On Friday, Oct. 3, an Agricultural Labor Relations Board Regional Director filed a police report with the Fresno Police Department (Case No. 1472322). UFW has been informed that the police report accuses Belen and Rosie Solano, and Cesar Garcia, a Gerawan pesticide applicator, with attempting to intimidate ALRB witness Gustavo Vallejo during a break from testimony. The Solanos are daughters of Sylvia Lopez, believed to be handpicked by Gerawan Farming, Inc. to lead unlawful efforts to “decertify” or get rid of the UFW. According to reports, the three individuals threatened Vallejo by approaching him, with one stating that he could go to jail for testifying. In addition, although the victim had never previously met Gerawan pesticide applicator Garcia, Garcia reportedly named Vallejo’s supervisor and said the supervisor would talk with Vallejo when they were at church together the following Sunday. On Monday, Gerawan workers protested outside the hearing in response to the attempted witness tampering, demanding an end to the intimidation.
This apparent lawbreaking has to stop. As Gerawan has a history of violating the law, we are hoping the retailers who sell their Prima brand products can use their purchasing power to make a difference.
We’ve spoken to the Safeway chain numerous times about what is going on at Gerawan. Safeway has numerous stores (including Vons and Pavilions stores) in 18 states throughout the US. We’ve asked for them to meet with the workers and hear what is happening, but they did not agree to do so in the near future. Safeway has done nothing to use their influence to resolve serious findings of illegal Gerawan activity by the ALRB’s Regional Director. In fact, last week Safeway was promoting Prima brand peaches.
Take action. Send your email to Safeway today and tell them as a major chain that promotes this product they have the responsibility to step up and make sure their supplier obeys the law. Tell them to reach out to Gerawan ASAP and to ask them to follow the law.