Thank you for being there for the United Farm Workers. Your support means so much to me and the workers we are here to serve. I want to share some wonderful breaking news with you.
Yesterday, we used a contract signing ceremony in Stockton to congratulate the 800 workers at Pacific Triple E Ltd. on their perseverance and hard work in achieving an historic breakthrough that makes them the best paid tomato workers in America. This new UFW contract will also help raise pay and benefits for workers in the tomato industry across California and beyond. It provides wage increases of 12 to 57.4 percent over the life of the agreement for hourly and daily rate employees. Other highlights of the contract include a grievance procedure, seniority and job security.
The Triple E contract marks the latest victory in our aggressive drive to organize farm workers and negotiate union contracts. Additional contract breakthroughs are expected soon.
The effort for a contract at Triple E got a boost last summer during the union’s 150-mile march from Madera to Sacramento that convinced Gov. Jerry Brown to propose SB 126, the law designed to make union elections more fair. So many farm workers and supporters along the march route participated in that grueling trek and we want to thank the many of you who sent emails and donations in support.
The Triple E agreement happened because of joint efforts by the tomato workers and their employer who willingly sat down and listened to the voices and needs of the farm workers at this company—and then was willing to respond in a positive and socially responsible manner.
We look forward to forging a genuine partnership with Triple E that is a standard for progressive labor-management cooperation benefiting both the company and its workers.
Si Se Puede!
Arturo S. Rodriguez,
United Farm Workers of America
PS: I want to share what Manuel Andrade, a Pacific Triple E worker who is part of the negotiating committee had to say.
I am very happy that this contract is now a reality. I am in favor of laws that protect farm workers, and this contract will protect our rights. Hopefully this victory will motivate other farm workers to support the union’s activities like organizing, and several actions such as the UFW’s recent lobbying for overtime. More than anything, I want other farm workers to know that the solution to the discrimination that exists, is that they unite. This cannot be fixed overnight, but little by little we will find solutions to our problems. I want to thank the United Farm Workers for all they have done, and I also want to thank Pacific Triple E for paying attention to our needs and to what we were asking for.
Pacific Triple E worker,
Member of negotiating committee
UFW back in S.J. County's labor picture
By Jennie Rodriguez-Moore
Record Staff Writer
June 29, 2012 12:00 AM
STOCKTON - For the first time in more than 20 years, United Farm Workers has a membership presence in San Joaquin County.
In a downtown Stockton ceremony, UFW President Arturo Rodriguez signed a contract with one of the nation's largest fresh tomato companies.
Tracy-based Pacific Triple E operating partner Jon Esformes also signed the agreement that requires the company's labor contractors to work with representatives from the farm labor group in paying livable wages for hourly and daily employees.
United Farm Workers, founded by Cesar Chavez and Stockton-raised activist Dolores Huerta, has not been active in San Joaquin County since the 1980s.
The tomato contract gives the union a footing in the local farm labor market.
The contract will give pay raises to some 800 laborers working under contractors for Pacific Triple E, a family-owned company.
Pacific Triple E is part of national supplier SUNRIPE and employs workers in five California counties - Fresno, Merced, Madera, San Joaquin and Sacramento.
Agriculture is a $2 billion industry in San Joaquin County. And the fresh tomatoes the sixth-largest cash crop, yielding $115.7 million per year.
Rodriguez said the new relationship establishes a precedent in local agriculture. He said families will be compensated for what they deserve.
"We're very much looking forward to the relationship that has begun here," Rodriguez said.
Esformes and Rodriguez signed the agreement at a conference Thursday afternoon at the Mexican Heritage Center.
Under the contract, laborers will receive wage increases of 12 percent to 57.4 percent over a period of three years.
"The three-year contract we are signing with Pacific Triple E also makes them the best-paid tomato workers in the nation," Rodriguez said in a statement.
A newly formed grievance procedure allows workers to voice their concerns to a third party without fear of retribution.
"Quite frankly, there is a culture gap that most people don't want to acknowledge in the United States," Esformes said. He said that immigrant employees are not used to speaking out and filing complaints.
A third-party agreement can make that process smoother, he said.
Esformes said treating people with respect is certainly his priority, and the union partnership helps him hold supervisors accountable. "I'm not putting my head in the sand," he said.
Ending months of negotiations, the contract also includes a pension plan, job security provisions and a seniority plan for the roughly 800 workers.
Discussions between the union and company representatives have been civil and productive, according to both parties.
"Too often, employers do not want to take responsibility for their actions," said Rodriguez, adding that that wasn't the case with Pacific Triple E. "And that says a lot about the (Esformes) family."