As Gerawan Farming in Fresno, CA announced wage increases to its thousands of employees on Independence Day, the United Farm Workers union hilariously tried to take credit for the raise.
On the eve of the Independence Day, farm workers at Gerawan Farms received notice that their employer proposed a wage increase to $11.00 per hour.
Yet the UFW posted this notice on its website:
After negotiating an $11 an hourly pay increase for Gerawan workers, plus a 10 percent increase for all other crew and cultural employees effective July 1, United Farm Workers National Vice President Armando Elenes further proposed that Gerawan increase the hourly base rate to $15 an hour plus an additional 15 percent increase for other crew and cultural workers.
“Mr. Gerawan has always helped us,” said Silvia Lopez, a 16-year employee at the farm. “He gives us the highest wages and works with local companies so we have discounts on medicine, car insurance, cell phone plans and other benefits. We are happy to see that he has continued that commitment with his proposed new minimum salary of $11.00 for full-time employees.”
Just since 2012, California’s minimum wage has gone up three times, while Gerawan has raised wages seven times. The farming company has a longstanding reputation of paying workers above California’s minimum wage, and according to Gerawan employees, leads the industry in wages. In addition, the family farming company offers paid vacation, retirement bonuses, and pays for workers’ children to attend Catholic school.
Lopez and thousands of Gerawan workers have been fighting since October 2012 to petition the ALRB for a decertification vote. Lopez personally gathered thousands of the workers’ signatures, which the ALRB disqualified three times. Finally, under pressure, the ALRB allowed a decertification election to take place in November 2013. But the ALRB has kept the ballots locked up, refusing to count the votes, or publish the results of the election, claiming some nebulous interference by Gerawan management.
Lawsuits ensued. Lopez is suing the ALRB and UFW in federal court for civil rights violations and denying her and other farm workers’ the right to a free and fair election. They demanded the votes be counted.
Gerawan Farming filed a constitutional challenge against the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, with the United Farm Workers of America named as a “Real Party of Interest,” with the California Court of Appeal, Fifth District in Fresno, challenging the ALRB’s invocation of the California’s Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation Statute.
“The UFW’s Elenes also urged ‘that Gerawan Farming cease to illegally refuse to implement the contract so that employees may enjoy the full benefits, rights and protections offered by the contract,’” according to the UFW memo.
But thousands of Gerawan farm workers don’t want the UFW. They like their jobs, as well as their employer. Gov. Jerry Brown and other Democrat state politicians have refused to help the farm workers, despite numerous personal requests for help from Lopez.
The Agricultural Labor Relations Board and United Farm Workers labor union continue to deprive the workers of the right to choose.
Cesar Chavez must be rolling over in his grave.
Read all my latest stories about the workers’ fight against the UFW and ALRB: